Saturday, September 29, 2012
Dear blogging friends — Today I'm adding a new friend to my blog roll — Erika of Parvum Opus. Erika has recently started a blog about desk accessories and the decorative arts. Besides being lovely in and of itself (I've borrowed a handsome photograph from her own site), the Parvum Opus blog will lead you to a selection of custom-made desk accessories from her own bindery. That's her work featured in the above photograph. If you get a chance, visit Parvum Opus, here. I salute Erika's craftsmanship and wish her well.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
As you can see, the new way of making almond paste sure beats the old way of doing it!
The maker of the almond paste was Henry Heide, whose name takes a prominent place on the front of my tin.
Henry Heide (1846-1931) came to the United States from Westphalia, Germany, in 1866. By 1869 he had established a candy-making business in New York and was known for making delicious macaroons and almond paste. His business grew from a small store to a large factory as he continued to develop confections. Towards the end of his life, in 1920, Henry Heide created his most famous recipes, still enjoyed by millions of movie-goers.
|able2know.org | candy.com|
Thursday, September 20, 2012
I could list another reason the still life appeals to me — the items within it mirror that reflective personality.
The other items in the painting have scattered to the winds. One was a remarkable paperweight of a dandelion floating in Lucite. It was a gift to my father from a classmate of mine, and as the years went by the Lucite slowly yellowed and clouded. The dog-eared brown book was an American textbook from the 1820s. My father enjoyed it because a young student from that time had penned anti-Jefferson comments in the margins. The two green volumes were a 19th-century edition of Isaak Walton's The Compleat Angler. They were gifted to my father's best friend after he delivered the eulogy at my father's memorial service.
In a sense, this painting is a family portrait, and when I look at it, I respond to it as though it were a window onto my past.
Friday, September 14, 2012
|senate.gov | wikipedia.org | wikipedia.org | wordpress.com|
Peale had 16 children and three of his sons — Raphaelle, Rembrandt and Rubens — were also gifted artists. A fourth, Titian Peale, was both an artist and a pioneer in photography.
In 1795, George Washington agreed to sit one last time for Charles Wilson Peale. Peale painted Washington, but he had actually arranged the sitting so that 17-year-old Rembrandt could also paint the elderly President, thereby assuring a lifetime of commissions for Rembrandt. Below is the 17-year-old's first portrait of Washington.
|click to enlarge | fineartamerica.com|
I think the most successful portrait of Washington (by anyone) is the Rembrandt Peale version that has hung in the Oval Office through many administrations.
|wikipedia.org | donkeylicious.com|
|fineartsamerica.com | Mathew Brady: Historian with a Camera|
Above left is a self-portrait of Rembrandt Peale and on the right is a daguerreotype portrait of him by Mathew Brady. By the time Rembrandt Peale sat for Brady, he was in his last years, and the only remaining artist who had painted Washington from life.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Regular readers of this blog know that I collect many different things. One of my favorite collections (and of course they're all favorite) is a grouping of small, green enameled tumblers. My glasses are all four inches high and lovely shades of chartreuse.
The glasses are all hand-blown and most likely 19th-century or early 20th-century Czechoslovakian. They are also properly called Bohemian Glass.
|Metropolitan Museum of Art|
Enameled glass was developed in the 12th century by Islamic artists in what is now Egypt and Syria. To read a short history of the original enameled glass like the gorgeous piece above, go here.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
|Biagio da Cesena | seidenadvertising.com|
Michelangelo painted The Last Judgement — the altar wall directly below his ceiling — almost 30 years after he finished the ceiling. While Pope Julius II had commissioned the ceiling and intended Michelangelo to paint the wall, Pope Paul III was on the papal throne when the wall was actually painted.
|Pope Paul III | wikipedia.org|
Pope Paul III was astonished and angry, and he said that he'd excommunicate anyone who touched the wall.
|Biagio da Cesena | seidenadvertising.com|
"You see, Holy Father," cried the Master of Ceremonies, "the report was true. Buonarroti has painted me into the fresco. With some kind of repulsive serpent for my genitalia."
"It's a covering," replied Michelangelo. "I knew you would not want to be portrayed wholly naked."
"A remarkable likeness," observed the Pope, his eyes twinkling. "Michelangelo, I thought you said you could not do portraiture?"
"I was inspired, Holiness."
Biagio da Cesena hopped up and down on either foot as though it were he instead of his picture standing over the fires of hell.
"Holiness, make him take me out of there!'
"Out of hell?" the Pope turned surprised eyes on the man. "Had he placed you in purgatory, I should have done everything in my power to release you. But you know that from hell there is no redemption."
Here's a quotation I found from Michelangelo; it could well be in reference to Biagio da Cesena:
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Spanish Moss! It was exciting to watch the trimming process, and a relief to know that the weight of the limb (estimated at one ton) won't come down upon me in the next storm.