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Posts Tagged ‘beautiful’

Picture of the Day- January 9, 2014

January 9, 2014 2 comments

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some happiness from Ireland…enjoy!   RT

(reposted from Natalia Maks)

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Picture of the Day- January 9, 2014.

Zinaida Serebriakova

January 8, 2014 Leave a comment

File:Serebryakova SefPortrait.jpg

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Zenaida Serebriakova (1884-1967), Russian aristocrat through and through,  was nonetheless a revolutionary to the bone. One of Russia’s first woman visual artists of note, she was born into a refined family–the Benois, whose founding ancestor, Louis Jules Benois, was a confectioner (pardon the pun)  who settled in Russia after fleeing the French Revolution.

Serebriakova received thorough instruction in painting, studying under Osip Braz, spending time in Italy, and finishing with a period at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris. She came to prominence when the above self-portrait, At the Dressing Table, was exhibited in 1909. A trip to Paris in 1924 to paint a large mural turned into decades-long exile when she was unable to return home. Her two younger children  joined her soon thereafter, but the Soviet government prevented her from resuming contact with her older children until the late 1950s.

Serebriakova traveled a great deal, especially in Africa, painting Arab and African women in native dress. Throughout her career, she remained dedicated to capturing the beauty of the world.

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Self-Portrait: At the Dressing TableZenaida Serebriakova. 1909. (Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow); WikCmns; Public Domain.

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Lake Victoria Dreaming

December 28, 2013 Leave a comment

File:Luo People Fishing.jpg

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Here are some stats to accompany the above dream-like photo: Africa’s Lake Victoria, the largest tropical lake in the world, is also the second largest lake in the world by surface area (only Lake Superior is larger). The lake is famous for its large number of cichlid species, these fish having adapted to the lake’s numerous ecological niches–but many have been driven extinct (or nearly so) by introduced exotic fish species, and in particular, the Nile perch.

The Lake Victoria basin is one of the most densely populated rural areas in the world, and raw sewage dumped into the lake poses a significant threat. LV supports Africa’s largest inland fishery. In 2006, the lake produced a harvest of Nile perch valued at U.S. $250 million. In 2004, the fishery employed in excess of 150,000 fishermen.

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PhotoLuo People Fishing in Lake Victoria (2009). Author: DancingPope. WikiCmns; CC 2.0 Generic.

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Read on Red: The Pleasures and Perils of Pinterest

November 13, 2013 4 comments

File:Courtesan and a little girl agead a new-year decoration.jpg

Surely, in a parallel universe somewhere, RT is a top-drawer nature photographer who takes breaks to shoot amazing architecture in the big cities and work on creative book design projects. The eye is neighbor to the heart, at least in men.

These reflections are by way of saying that RT has been spending a lot of time on Pinterest, the photo-sharing web site that has attracted users all over the globe. (And for the record, this post was inspired by a pin of a red-on-red portrait that reminded RT of the sheer gorgeousness art is capable of.) Be that as it may, RT suspects he has been spending too much time on Pinterest. Gilgamesh and A Daughter’s Song and Dance both are patiently awaiting their latest round of corrections; Mechanical Turk and other crowdsourcing sites are ripe for further work and exploration; and, hey, what about taking a break and getting out in the beautiful, if brisk, autumn air? And, come to think of it, RT has gotten locked out of his Yahoo account because of some mix-up over his password. So why the tomfoolery with beautiful pictures?

RT is pretty sure that one of the reasons for Pinterest’s success is the lack of beauty in everyday life, or at least for most of us. Walking past a large box store the other day, one that had gravel strewn in front of its nondescript exterior in lieu of a lawn, RT was forcefully reminded of how ugly public life has become. Convenient, serviceable, yes. But beautiful? Almost never.

In a world starved for beauty, Pinterest is an oasis devoted to pleasing the eye. No cruddy compromises here, just the best photographs by talented photographers, famous or not. Not to mention great historical photographs. And if you are a WP blogger, the site is a treasure trove of ideas for new posts. Plus you can pin images from your blog (something that RT needs to catch up on). So what’s the problem?

RT wouldn’t say that Pinterest offers eye-candy (though some of that is to be found on the site). What worries RT is that Pinterest has very little to do with the day-to-day or ordinary; there is always something special about the subject. One of the ways that art contributes to our life, and perhaps the main way it helps us, is by finding beauty in the ordinary, or even in the apparently ugly. Graffiti,  the faded and peeling side of an old house, a familiar skyline made arresting by being captured from an unusual angle–all these things help us see the intrinsic beauty of the world. And if the artwork is spontaneous, a discovery made on the spot, then so much the better. We can all hope to experience something similar in our routine.

Pinterest of course contains such visual material, but in RT’s experience, not enough of it. Maybe each member should be required to submit a certain number of images that he or she has made. It might help reintroduce each of us to ourselves. (And maybe RT should be pinning more images that meet his standards.)

We search for meaning in the ordinary; perhaps we should be searching for beauty, too. Dare we rediscover the poetry of the world our eyes and minds shut out?

(& what about that latest round of corrections?)

RT

Print: Courtesan and Little Girl; Hiroshige. WikiCmns; Public Domain.

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Two Figures: Something Fun…

November 12, 2013 1 comment

File:Albert Müller Zwei Figuren 474.jpg

something fun…enjoy!   RT

Drawing: Two Figures (by 1926); Albert Muller. Crayon on paper. WikiCmns; Public Domain.

Autumn in Black and White

October 30, 2013 2 comments

Aufziehendes-Wetter-ahhinton-1898--WikiPD

RT figures he was introduced to Autumn when he was 3 or 4; his family had returned from Brazil to Washington D.C., for what turned out to be about 6 years. He has some sharp memories of growing accustomed to the change in light, and one Thanksgiving in particular, when we drove out into the country to share the holiday with friends. Vivid images of the newly bleak landscape, punctuated with maple reds and muted gold, everything under the slanting light, lodged in his mind.

Light is a powerful thing, and so are shadows. RT recalls the story of another little boy who came back to the United States from Brazil (and specifically, from the treeless environs of the newly dedicated Brasilia): this particular boy was scared by the shadows that trees cast. One can only imagine that his first fall back in the country was an uncomfortable time for this child.

Halloween is the day the dead walk: they have long memories and tell us things we’ve forgotten. RT suspects it is better to overcome fear and listen to what they tell us; not all their news is troubling.

RT

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Photo: Gathering Weather (1898); Alfred Horsley Hinton. WikiCmns; Public Domain.

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Carrot Pineapple Coconut Cake

October 17, 2013 1 comment

some of RT’s favorite ingredients–go ahead, dig in!  RT

(reposted from I WANT TO COOK THAT)

Carrot Pineapple Coconut Cake.