Sunday, April 25, 2010

Holy Bohemians, Brother Batman! Can Burlington Save Palladio?


- Brother Thomas's gift. A monk-turned-potter’s bequest lightens the load for eight local artists : "One of the most overworked cliches about the creative world is the notion of “the struggling artist,’’ with its connotations of unheated garrets, paint-spattered clothing, crumpled paper littering the floor.But to Brother Thomas Bezanson, the struggle was very real. Long before the Benedictine monk-turned-potter was celebrated for his fine ceramics, which are now in the collections of more than 80 museums around the world and have fetched as much as $100,000, there was a time when he couldn’t afford the propane gas to fire his pots. He knew small amounts of money could make a critical difference to an artist, and he never forgot the kindness bestowed on him by the friend who gave him $500 to buy propane, or the couple who helped support him so he could dedicate himself to his art..." Read the full story

- "The Last Bohemians" by Roger Bristow - Frances Spalding finds much to enjoy in a biography of a bohemian couple who lived the artistic life to its extremes : "Famous in the 1940s, Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde are today almost forgotten figures. Much of their art in public collections is hidden from view. But the legend they created lives on. Roger Bristow brings factual accuracy and nuanced understanding to this first full account of their lives and work. But it nevertheless remains a tale about an intense relationship, shot through with humour, brutality, tragedy and farce..." Read the entire book review


April 25, 1694: Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, 'the Apollo of the Arts', was born. "Lord Burlington, also known as "the architect Earl", was instrumental in the revival of Palladian architecture. Three foreign Grand Tours 1714 – 1719 and a further trip to Paris in 1726 gave him opportunities to develop his taste. His professional skill as an architect was extraordinary in an English aristocrat. He carried his copy of Andrea Palladio's book I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura with him in touring the Veneto in 1719, and made copious notes in the margins. Burlington's first project, appropriately, was his own London residence, Burlington House, where he dismissed his baroque architect James Gibbs when he returned from the continent in 1719 and employed the Scottish architect Colen Campbell, with the history-painter-turned-designer William Kent for the interiors. The courtyard front of Burlington House, prominently sited in Piccadilly, was the first major executed statement of neo-Palladianism. By the early 1730s Palladian style had triumphed as the generally-accepted manner for a British country house or public building, and for the rest of his life Burlington was "the Apollo of the arts" as Horace Walpole phrased it."

April 25, 1909: William Pereira, American architect, was born. "Pereira was noted for his futuristic designs of landmark buildings such as the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco. Remarkably prolific, he worked out of Los Angeles, and was known for his love of science fiction and expensive cars, but mostly for his unmistakable style of architecture, which helped define the look of mid-20th century America."

April 25, 1939: Batman is born with the publication of DC Comics #27. "In early 1939, the success of Superman in Action Comics prompted editors at the comic book division of National Publications (the future DC Comics) to request more superheroes for its titles. In response, Bob Kane created "the Bat-Man." Collaborator Bill Finger said he devised the name Bruce Wayne for the character's secret identity: "Bruce Wayne's first name came from Robert Bruce, the Scottish patriot. Bruce, being a playboy, was a man of gentry. I searched for a name that would suggest colonialism. I tried Adams, Hancock … then I thought of Mad Anthony Wayne." Various aspects of Batman's personality, character history, visual design and equipment were inspired by contemporary popular culture of the 1930s, including movies, pulp magazines, comic strips, newspaper headlines, and even aspects of Kane himself. Kane noted especially the influence of the films The Mark of Zorro (1920) and The Bat Whispers (1930) in the creation of the iconography associated with the character, while Finger drew inspiration from literary characters Doc Savage, The Shadow, and Sherlock Holmes in his depiction of Batman as a master sleuth and scientist. Kane, in his 1989 autobiography, detailed Batman's creation:

One day I called Bill and said, 'I have a new character called the Bat-Man and I've made some crude, elementary sketches I'd like you to look at'. He came over and I showed him the drawings. At the time, I only had a small domino mask, like the one Robin later wore, on Batman's face. Bill said, 'Why not make him look more like a bat and put a hood on him, and take the eyeballs out and just put slits for eyes to make him look more mysterious?' At this point, the Bat-Man wore a red union suit; the wings, trunks, and mask were black. I thought that red and black would be a good combination. Bill said that the costume was too bright: 'Color it dark gray to make it look more ominous'. The cape looked like two stiff bat wings attached to his arms. As Bill and I talked, we realized that these wings would get cumbersome when Bat-Man was in action, and changed them into a cape, scalloped to look like bat wings when he was fighting or swinging down on a rope. Also, he didn't have any gloves on, and we added them so that he wouldn't leave fingerprints."


"Neoclassicism and Romanticism. Architecture, Sculpture. Painting. Drawing"

Edited by Rolf Toman.
Published in Stuttgart by Konemann in 2006.

“Illustrated with some 900 color photographs and reproductions, this volume explores the complexities of Neoclassicism and Romanticism in architecture and art through in-depth articles by eleven scholars, and reveals how these seemingly antithetical styles are in fact closely related. Looking at the period from the renewed interest in the art and architecture of classical antiquity in the mid-18th century (following the excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii and the arrival of new architectural theories), through the effusions of the mid-19th century, it includes the work of such artists as Johann Heinrich Füssli, Eugène Delacroix, J.M.W. Turner, William Blake, and Francisco de Goya.”


No comments: