Adrian Borda is a Romanian painter.
I do not know much more than that. His website is here.
It does not matter because these speak for themselves:
Adrian Borda is a Romanian painter.
I do not know much more than that. His website is here.
It does not matter because these speak for themselves:
Frank R Paul was an illustrator for the great pulp magazines of the 20s and 30s. His full color covers for Amazing Stories, Wonder Stories Science Fiction Magazine defined the look of what was at the time the brand new genre of science fiction Not only did he illustrate hundreds of covers, he did the cover of Marvel Comics #1. You may have heard of Marvel Comics, it went on to be quite successful.
He is the template for the look of science fiction and what all those who followed would draw from.
He invented the flyer saucer look and it is his illustration that people would describe during the UFO crazes that came afterwards.
“He was very innovative in the depiction of spaceships. Several of his illustrations were disc shaped and it has been speculated that he may have, accidentally, created the UFO craze when the first sighting of lights in the sky were described as disc shaped; this would have been the result of the psychological phenomenon known as mental set” -Armanda Simon
This is one of my favorite paintings.
I discovered it whilst perusing the Tate in London during one of the recording sessions for the Steampunk Opera. it is by John Sargent who we shall feature today.
Painted in 1886, this painting took a year to paint since Sargent was determined to capture the exact light of just after dusk and thus could only paint for 20 minutes a day. He had two girls as models and would set up the exact scene every day, paint for 20 minutes when the light was just right, then fold it up and resume the following day.
The name, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose is after a hit song from 1885.
Sargent became the most celebrated portrait painter of his day, but since i don’t like portrait paintings, i’m not going to feature them here. Instead, i present some other highlights of his career:
El Jaleo is a shout (eLAYoh!) that comes at the height of some spanish dances like this one. Think “oLAY!”
An amazingly striking painting, Sargent’s reaction to the horror of WWI. Gassed:
Venice In Grey Weather:
The Chess Game:
Statue of Perseus By Night:
A Tyrolese Crucifix
In case you’re wondering where all the paintings from the 1890s are, that’s when Sargent made all his money doing portraits. TONS of portraits. He does have some nice impressionist work from that decade, but you can look that up your own. Til tomorrow…
Meet photographer Elena Vizerskaya, better known as kaSSandrA. She’s from Kiev and her work is…. her work is stunning.
Really, look at this stuff. it’s breathtaking.
She has a blog that’s here which i BEG you to go check out.
And now for the photo art:
So with the performance all wrapped up and the future still waiting to be written, can we get back to dieselpunk goodness? Obviously, the 2nd Act of the Dieselpunk Opera is my main creative bent right now and all things dieselpunk are my current mistress.
With that said, let’s take a look at a kick ass artist i’ve come across in my travels, Alex Kozhanov from Kaliningrad, Russia (more Russians! Russians are awesome. So are Norwegians So are you). He paints in some type of fantastical, industrial style. Take a gander.
Futurism was embraced in Pre-Revolutionary Russian heartily by a small but ambitious group of artists and poets. They published their own manifesto (OF COURSE) called A Slap In The Face Of Public Taste. (points for a good title)
They spawned in 1912 and like their Italian counterparts they adopted the painting style of Cubism in 1913, although apparently independently of the Italians. Aristarkh Lentulov came back from Paris having adopted the Cubist style and the Russian Futurists embraced it zealously, just like the Italian Futurists did.
The Russians developed in their own way. Although they too embraced dynamism, movement, machines,modernity and an absolute disdain for the past, they eschewed the Fascist ideology of the Italians, were much more active in literary futurism, openly disdained war (but embraced the Russian Revolution whole heartedly as the dawn of a new era and the end of the old) and denied influence from ANYbody, not even Marinetti, the Italian founder of Futurism, himself.
In fact, when Marinetti visited Russia the Russian Futurists messed with him at every turn and declared they owed him nothing.
The Russian Futurists embraced both the Revolution and Communism when it came and Futurism thrived briefly under Communism before being engulfed and absorbed by the Communist style which would emerge triumphant and which we can all still picture today.
The Russian Futurists even made some Futurist Opera. You know how much i love you. You know that i wouldn’t leave the 3 of you who are still interested in these Futurist posts hanging in morbid curiosity as to what on earth Futurist Opera from 1913 is like. Well, it’s like this:
As we here at The Steampunk Opera blog are interested in all aspects of the past imagining the future, the time has come to turn our wayward attention to the early 20th century art movement that named itself after the very future itself, Futurism!
Futurism began in Italy in 1909. It was an attempt to throw off the confines of the Victorian era, to embrace change, the future, the power of industry, acceleration, the thrill of speed, the challeng and excitement of conflict and the glory of war. It saw a tumultuous, fast changing, industrial future and wished to embrace it with great aggression. It wanted the young, the strong to celebrate humanity’s triumph of technology over nature.
In 1909 Filippo Tommaso Marinetti published the Futurist Manifesto. I believe there is evidence that during the 19th to mid 20th century no one so much as redecorated their wardrobe without releasing a manifesto to announce the philosophy behind their intentions. In any case, the Futurist Manifesto attracted both attention and followers and the Futurist movement was born.
Here are some highlights of the Manifesto:
MANIFESTO OF FUTURISM
1. We intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness.
2. Courage, audacity, and revolt will be essential elements of our poetry.
3. Up to now literature has exalted a pensive immobility, ecstasy, and sleep. We intend to exalt aggresive action, a feverish insomnia, the racer’s stride, the mortal leap, the punch and the slap.
4. We affirm that the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing car whose hood is adorned with great pipes, like serpents of explosive breath—a roaring car that seems to ride on grapeshot is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.
7. Except in struggle, there is no more beauty. No work without an aggressive character can be a masterpiece. Poetry must be conceived as a violent attack on unknown forces, to reduce and prostrate them before man.
9. We will glorify war—the world’s only hygiene—militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman.
10. We will destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind, will fight moralism, feminism, every opportunistic or utilitarian cowardice.
Number 9 is of course very interesting and we will touch upon their intense patriotism and love of violence and war in just a second.
From an artistic standpoint they embraced ” universal dynamism”. Objects in reality were not separate from one another or from their surroundings. How to best represent this was debated and they attempted paintings in a Divisionist style. Divisionism is a method you probably know through the painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by George Seurat, in which the entire painting is made up of dots of color which the eye puts together into a picture.
However this style was several decades old by this point, hardly a method of the future and the Futurists were derided by some as backwards. Hence, one of their leading painters, Gino Severini headed off to Paris, the mecca of the avante garde art world to see what was up. He discovered Cubism and thus the Futurist love of Cubism was born.
The movement became enormously vibrant, not only in painting but in sculpture, architecture and even music. They were serious about changing perception and developing utterly modern forms with no ties to the past. In music they threw off the shackles of tradition harmony, chords and instrumentation. One technique they embraced was imitating the sound of machines and industry as part of music, foreshadowing not only Industrial music, Stockhausen and John Cage, but also certainly A Steampunk Opera. We’ll touch upon architecture in a later post.
Their influence and obsession extended across Europe and into America. Russia had its own particular Russian Futurism, an offshoot based on a mistranslation who disavowed all connection with Italian futurism’s founder Marinetti and which we’ll get into tomorrow.
By 1914 the Futurists got even more political They openly embraced violence and were extremely patriotic. They began campaigning heavily for and against certain politicians and paritcularly against the Austria Hungarian Empire. They championed war and when it came they were delighted. Most futurists enlisted immediately and marched happily into World War I.
They all died of course and there was the end of the first wave of Italian Futurism.
I quote the Mighty and All Powerfully Omnipotent Wikipedia:
A shadow box is an enclosed glass-front case containing an object or objects presented in a thematic grouping with artistic or personal significance. The grouping of the objects and the depth effect created by their relative heights from the backing creates a dramatic visual result.
For instance, stuff like this:
Enter Jospeh Cornell who made an artform out of creating shadow boxes.
Cornell (1903-1972) was a bit of a recluse, shy and lived almost his entire life in a small wooden frame house on the Utopia Parkway in Flushing, Queens with his mother and caring for his brother who had cerebral palsy. He was not very good with women and never had much in the way of romantic relationships. He preferred talking with women over men, though, and often made their husbands wait in the next room when he discussed business with them. Later in life he had numerous friendships with ballerinas, who found him unique, but too eccentric to be a romantic partner.
He had a string of crappy jobs most of this life and it wasn’t until he was 46 in 1949 that he had a showing in a gallery of his boxes which resulted in some of them being bought.
Interestingly, after this he became somewhat renowned.
His boxes always featured found objects and he was particularly fond of Victorian odds and ends. His style is combination of Constructivism meets Surrealism. Constructivism is a kind of industrial, angular presentation (the material properties of an object + its spacial presence) which became enormously influencial on Bauhaus architecture. Surrealism is… oh come on you don’t really need to explain surrealism. Giraffe. Burlap. Fortnight.
So that’s all you need to know i think. He became interested in film would do the same thing in film he did in his boxes. He would make montages of found footage and that would be his experimental film.
His very last exhibit was a showing of his boxes specifically for children. All the boxes were placed at an ideal childrens’ viewing height and cake and soft drinks were served.
Among the lush and gorgeous Victorian art movement known as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were artists who not only painted narrative paintings, that is paintings that tell a complex situation in their details, but more so and more novelly, did so using original scenes.
In other words, painting a scene in which by examining the details one can work out an entire narrative was nothing knew. But these scenes were always well known events. In Victorian times these events were obsessively biblical. You can find hundreds of detailed scenes on biblical events. But William Holman Hunt, one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood who as a group stressed a return to abundant detail, intense colours, and complex compositions started doing something even more daring, he painted scenes with narrative that he just made up himself.
Non-biblical scenes! Making up your own stories! Bolderash! Preposterous! Poppycock! What kind of arrogant bastard would make up his own situations instead using classical, biblical or even major current events? Theodore Gericualt, the reknowned French painter who had died shortly before the birth of the Pre-Raphalites made detailed narrative paintings based on current events, pretty novel, but at least he humbly chose important national situations, not made up ones. What cheek!
So you get the idea. In any case, what we really care about examining here is how Holman gets across an incredibly detailed situation in a single painted. As our first illustration of this we shall turn to one of his msot famous works, The Awakening Conscience. (Note, this last time i was in London i was strolling through the Tate Britain when i stumbled across this guide leading a small tour and talking at length about certain paintings. I turned off my ipod and followed them. This woman leading the group was AWEsome to listen to. She discussed some of these very paintings and i was utterly transfixed by the stuff she pointed out. I mention it lest you think i’m smart or cultured enough to figure out this stuff on my own. I wish i knew her name cause i’d tell you to take one of her painting tours if you’re ever in London.)
The Awakening Conscience
So what’s happening here?
This woman is the man’s mistress, a kept woman with no money of her own. He is using her for hanky panky, has no intention of ever marrying her, and she is utterly dependent upon him and when he tosses her aside, as he absolutely will, she will likely end up an alcoholic prostitute. Basically she is like Fontaine in Les Miserables just before she is pregnant and tossed aside by her callous, deflowering lover. However, unlike Fontaine, this woman is having a spiritual epiphany right this moment, one that is likely to cause her to change her life, her situation, certainly get rid of this bum, and live a virtuous life.
We know all this because the details in the painting tell us all this and more. Let me demonstrate:
She has rings on all her fingers except the ring finger. So she’s unmarried, sitting on this guy’s lap AND wearing a sleeping gown. The hat on the table says the man is a visitor and not a permanent resident.This makes the young woman clearly the man’s mistress, not a young maiden he’s courting for marriage.
The objects around them fill everything in. The cat is toying with a bird and both are in a the same perspective as the woman and the guy. This signifies the man is toying with the woman with the same callow disregard. However, just like woman, the cat’s been distracted by something (probably the young woman standing up so abruptly), and the bird has a chance to escape.
A tapestry hangs unfinished on the piano, the threads of which lie unravelled on the floor; also lying discarded on the floor is a musical arrangement of Tennyson’s poem “Tears, Idle Tears”; on teh piano is the sheet music for a well known song at the time, Thomas Moore’s Stilly Night”, the lyrics of which speak of missed opportunities and sad memories of a happier past. A soiled, discarded white glove on the floor symbolizes the woman’s fate if she stays with her lover. The picture on the wall shows the biblical story of the women taken into adultery. A the print of Frank Stones’s Cross Purposes on the wall.
Many of these details clearly would not be recognizable to a modern audience but would be obvious to a victorian one. Here is an especially poignant one: “The room is too cluttered and gaudy to be in a Victorian family home; the bright colours, unscuffed carpet, and pristine, highly-polished furniture speak of a room recently furnished for a mistress. Art historian Elizabeth Prettejohn notes that although the interior is now viewed as “Victorian” it still exudes the “‘nouveau-riche’ vulgarity” that would have made the setting distasteful to contemporary viewers. The painting’s frame is decorated with further symbols: bells (for warning), marigolds (for sorrow), and a star above the girl’s head (a sign of spiritual revelation).”
However, the woman is rising. Literally rising. The centerpiece of the entire painting is actually not the woman, it’s something beyond the room, beyond the woman, beyond the situation, it’s a shining light of natural beauty,and nature to the Pre-Raphaelites symbolizes morality and truth.The natural world, in all its splendor, is calling to the young woman with an offer of redemption. Plus, the painting is called, you know, The Awakening Conscience. So there’s that clue too.
And here’s a killer detail: The model for the image of the young lady? Well, it was actually Holman Hunt’s own mistress, Annie Miller. Hunt was trying to convince Miller to leave behind her life as a mistress, and reform herself into a good woman of society he could marry with dignity. She never did take to this idea of becoming his Good Wife and they eventually broke up.
Well! To tell you the truth, when i started this post i was going to run down and analyse several paintings but this post has actually reached what i consider to be an optimum maximum length. Longer than this and i feel the post becomes too much. This is the internet after all. I want you to be able to get your bite sized morsel and carry on. So let’s do this again one day, shall we?