Autumn is on its way, and I am sure many will share with me that it is their favourite season. In preparation for it, here are a couple of photos from last autumn and another nature induced musing.
Hike to Ullevållseter, Oslo, autumn 2015 – Photograph taken by Rachael Wilner
Ibid – Photograph taken by Rachael Wilner
Autumn, the last burst of colour that heralds that eternal, unforgiving, and indiscriminate silence.
The culminating ephemeral chance at redemption, reenergized through the urgency of endeavour.
Autumn is to strive, to embolden, to ensober, albeit in melancholy.
Autumn, the valedictory before the inevitable advance of perpetual winter becomes truth.
The representation of light, spontaneity, and sensation are all aims of Impressionism (Acton, 2009), which have been beautifully captured in Monet’s non-narrative landscape Lavacourt under Snow (1878-81). This picture is dominated by a myriad of blue hues. The absence of white may seem unusual in the execution of a snowy wintery scene. However, the white is not required, and in fact Renoir has stated that ‘White does not exist in nature (Rewald, 1973, cited in Ball, 2003, p. 182).’ The snow reflects the ever-changing colour of the sky. The pink and yellow hues in the background give the impression that the sun is descending behind the buildings; the foreground is left in shadow, highlighted by dark blue accents. The blue lineal contours of the snow’s edge, the cottages’ roofs, and the top of the hills aid movement to the spectator’s eye, creating unity in the composition. The overall tonal value is considerably light, contrasting only with the subdued tonal values of the trees, cottages, and boat. Black and earth tones are nowhere to be seen (Ball, 2003; Thomson, 2014). Continue reading
Picture taken from our bedroom window during the summer thunderstorm
The steady downpour, juxtaposed by sudden lightning and the rumbling echo of thunder, that ensues a sunny summer day has an ethereal and surreal quality to it. Once this fleeting event dissipates, with the resumption of that banal seemingly eternal summer, one may think of restoration. Yet this return is distinct, with a moist and fresh peculiarity in the air – a recollection of that redeeming and transcendental state of reverie. Not a restoration of old, but a birth of new.
I was invited by my fiancé and a friend to view St Peter’s and the Papal Basilicas of Rome 3D, a documentary that was visually stunning, with close-ups to the interiors, sculptures, and pictures. Among these was Michelangelo’s Pietà. Therefore, I am uploading this essay which was written for an Italian Renaissance course as a quasi-commemorative gesture to this event.
Pietà – photograph copyright Stanislav Traykov
Funeral of the Anarchist Galli (1911) by Carlo Carrà is quintessential to Futurism and the ‘beauty of speed’ (Marinetti, 1909). This picture is saturated with dynamism. It is based on a diagonal composition where we find an uneven sweep of agglomerated figures presented in warm colours in a divisionistic technique (Martin, 2005). A red coffin radiates a warm glow on the figures. A sun surrounded by a fragmented, Cubist-inspired sky of different tonal and colour gradations is interspersed by the sticks and banners that project from the ground. Both form and space are ambiguous due to the lack of traditional spatial perspective. The countless systematic repetition of lines, that accurately give us the illusion of movement of figures and objects, can make the viewer feel overwhelmed. We find ourselves in the centre of the action. Continue reading
Sign pointing towards Emanuel Vigeland Museum. The museum is a hidden gem with very little publicity. This is the only sign that we found on the way there (photograph taken by Rachael Wilner).
The consideration that Tomba Emmanuelle, open to the public since 1959 and located in northern Oslo, is the crown jewel of Emanuel Vigeland’s (1875-1948) work is not an exaggeration. Once you cross the minute threshold, bowing your head low to ensure that your head does not collide with the lintel, and recover your upright posture, you take in the sheer colossal size of the mausoleum. Your eyes take a while to adjust to the darkness – there are no windows here – which adds to the unearthly feel that emanates once in this tomb. The experience is not solely visual: a considerable damp musky smell invades your nose, unfortunately this is confirmed towards the end room where some fresco has been damaged. The echo of every small noise produced is palpable; people’s whispers are other-worldly presences and the combination of the noises is reminiscent of the whirring of machinery, resonating off walls and seemingly alive. The whole magnitude of the walls and ceiling are covered in frescoes. Continue reading
Equestrian monuments were revived during the Renaissance (Pope-Hennessy, 1996). Unfortunately, most classical equestrian monuments had been destroyed during the Middle Ages due to a widespread view of eradicating all pagan images and statues (Avery, 2012). Yet, there were a few monuments that outlived this blanket rejection and survived to inspire later generations of artists up to this day: the monument to Marcus Aurelius located in Rome; and the Horses in San Marco, Venice. This article focuses on two equestrian monuments, both dedicated to condottieri nevertheless executed in differing media: Donatello’s Monument to Gattamelata (1453), a free-standing statue made in bronze lost-wax casting located in the Piazza del Santo, Padua; and Paolo Uccello’s Funerary Monument to Sir John Hawkwood (1436), a recommissioning in fresco found in the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiori, Florence. Continue reading