28 October 2013

Blazing flames of Baku

All photos © hunbille 2013

 Blazing flames of Baku

 Gray in black and white

 Iridescent by night

 Opaline at sunrise

 Radiant at sunset

Shimmering from everywhere in the city

The Flame Towers consist of three kaleidoscopic skyscraper buildings (south, east and west) in Baku, Azerbaijan. Construction began in 2007 with completion in 2012.

Even if the designer is a little bit (just a little bit?) annoying, in the Discovery Science documentary called Build It Bigger: Azerbaijan's Amazing Transformation (go to 25:48), the Flame Towers are still under construction. Vertigo guaranteed.

The Maiden Tower (built in the 12th century) and the Caspian Sea

25 October 2013

The milkmaid: in a dignified way

In the middle 17th century Dutch literature and paintings, maids were often depicted as subjects of male desire—dangerous women threatening the honor and security of the home, the center of Dutch life—although some Johannes Vermeer contemporaries, such as Pieter de Hooch, had started to represent them in a more neutral way, as did Michael Sweerts.

Pieter de Hooch: Woman and Maid in a Courtyard (c. 1660)

Michael Sweerts: A Young Maid Servant (c. 1660)

Other painters, such as Gerrit Dou, depicted attractive maids with symbolic objects, such as jugs.

Gerrit Dou: Maid at the Window (c. 1660)

Johannes Vermeer's painting The Milkmaid is one of the rare examples of a maid treated in an empathetic and dignified way, although amorous symbols in this work still exemplify the tradition: one of the Delft tiles depicts Cupid, the foot warmer, the coals enclosed inside the foot warmer, the wide-mouthed jug (often used as a symbol of the female anatomy)...

Since you're still reading this blog post, you might be interested in Decoding Eroticism in Dutch Golden Age Painting.

Johannes Vermeer: The Milkmaid (c. 1658)

The magnificent oil painting shows a low-ranking indoor servant in a plain room, pouring milk into a squat earthenware container, now commonly known as Dutch oven, on a table. Also on the table are various types of bread.

She is a young sturdily built woman wearing a crisp linen cap, a blue apron and work sleeves pushed up from thick forearms. 

There is a foot warmer is on the floor behind her, near Delft wall tiles. Intense light streams from the window on the left side of the canvas.

The humble woman is attentive pouring the trickle of milk because the bread pudding she's making can be ruined when the ingredients are not accurately measured or properly combined. By depicting the working maid in the act of careful cooking, the artist presents not just a picture of an everyday scene, but one with ethical and social value.

« In the end, it is not the allusions to female sexuality that give this painting its romance or emotional resonance — it is the depiction of honest, hard work as something romantic in and of itself. The Milkmaid elevates the drudgery of housework and servitude to virtuous, even heroic, levels.» –Raquel Laneri

23 October 2013

Saint museum of mosaic

The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood (known locally as Spas na Kravi) is a beautiful gold-draped onion-domed church on the Griboedov canal, one of the many waterways, in St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Azat Galimov: Griboyedov canal (2011)

It was built on the place where the Russian emperor Alexander II was assassinated on March 1, 1881. 

More relevant view: Google maps

Construction began in 1883. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed in 1907.

Architecturally, the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism.

Both the interior and exterior of the church is decorated with incredibly detailed mosaics, over 7500 square meters of mosaics!

 © CGP Grey

Russian orthodox church in Saint Petersburg Spas na Krovi

Look at the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood's web cam.

21 October 2013

Natural photo-impressions

 Cheese plant

 Chilli peppers




 Japanese painted fern



 Palm leaf

 Passion flowers


 Seed head

 Virginia creeper

Angela Easterling has developed a unique style of photography. She has gradually created her own technique having been influenced by the 19th century photographic work of Henry Fox Talbot and Anna Atkins.

 Henry Fox Talbot: Leaf (c. 1840)

 Anna Atkins: Alaria esculenta cyanotype (c. 1843-53)

Emerging without the use of a camera, each image is dependent upon exposure, light source, humidity and, most importantly, the combination of the organic materials employed and the sensitized paper. When combined with contemporary chemicals, the plant materials generate their own particular aura of color.

See Angela Easterling's web gallery here.

..."Without the use of a camera": Man Ray's photograms are called rayographs.

 Man Ray (1934)

19 October 2013

Waterfront pervasive light

Bar Island and Mt. Desert Mountains (1850)

Fitz Henry Lane (1804–1865), also known as Fitz Hugh Lane, was an American artist of a style that would later be called Luminism, for its use of pervasive light.
All life long he was exposed to the sea and maritime life. His family lived upon the periphery of Gloucester (MA) Harbor's working waterfront and his father was a sailmaker. Fitz Henry 'Hugh' Lane went to Boston, took lessons in drawing and painting and became a marine artist.
Arrangements and techniques that he would consistently incorporate in the composition of his artworks:

• Nautical subject matter
• Depiction of various naval craft in highly accurate detail
• Over-all extensive amount of detail
• Distinctive expanse of sky
• Pronounced attention to depicting the interplay of light and dark

 (Wiki for more.)

 Becalmed off Halfway Rock (1860)

 Blue Hill, Maine (c. 1857)

 Boston Harbor at Sunset (c. 1855)

 Castine, Maine (1850)

 Lumber Schooners at Evening on Penobscot Bay (1860)

 Ships in Ice off Ten Pound Island (1850s)

Stage Rocks and Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor (c. 1857)

On the waterfront, the house/studio in Gloucester (MA) that Fitz Henry Lane designed and lived in till the end of his life still exists.

© John Phelan (2010)