Significant Works of Historical Art and Craftsmanship

Aug 2019
43
Livingston 62° 38′ 27″ S, 60° 22′ 0.98″ W
5dd5e68a96c05ef148f63dd22d8a0175.jpg The Freedom Monument (also Shipka Monument) is a monumental sculpture on Mount St. Nicholas. The monument was erected in order to commemorate the feat of the fallen for freedom of Bulgaria in the place defended during the Battle of Shipka, around which the decisive battles for the Russo-Turkish War and the Liberation of Bulgaria took place in the summer of 1877. The monument is part of the Park - Shipka Museum. The main stone of the monument was laid on August 24, 1922 The memorial is a stone tower in the form of a truncated pyramid with a height of 31.5 m. A giant bronze lion, 8 m long and 4 m high, is located above the entrance to the tower, and the figure of a woman symbolizes the victory over the Ottoman forces. On the ground floor there is a marble sarcophagus with the remains of those killed during the defense. There are four more floors where the exposition of Bulgarian military flags and other relics is located. From the top of the tower offers breathtaking views of Shipka Pass and the surrounding area. Every August, a historical reconstruction of the events of 1877 is carried out near the monument. An important part of the event is a requiem for the soldiers of the Russian Empire who died here, as well as the Bulgarian militias. Military honors are given to them, state leaders and ordinary citizens of Bulgaria lay wreaths of fresh flowers at the top of the hill as a sign of gratitude.
 

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Aug 2019
43
Livingston 62° 38′ 27″ S, 60° 22′ 0.98″ W
An extraordinary picture with a mysterious fate has emerged from centuries-old oblivion to stun, delight and spark the imagination. She recreates one of the most often painted Bible stories - the farewell dinner of Christ with her apostles. But it is not another masterpiece, created by the hand of a Western European craftsman, but a work of the Bulgarian artist of Czech origin Ivan Murkvichka. Although he recreates the "exploited" scene in the painting, Murkwitch's "Last Supper" seems to raise more questions than merely painting the familiar scene in which Christ utters the words, "One of you will betray me." And first of all, the mystery stands out: who stands next to the Savior's left shoulder - the most effeminately painted apostle John in the history of art, or the harlot Maria Magdalen? Ivan Mrkvička (Czech, also Jan Václav Mrkvička (23 April 1856 - 16 May 1938) was a Czech-born painter and active contributor to the artistic life of newly liberated Bulgaria in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is considered as one of the founders of the modern Bulgarian fine art tradition. 28511560_10156044126567416_473370782_n.jpg
 

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Feb 2019
774
Pennsylvania, US
Here are some pieces from the rather infamous 9 weeks that artists Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh spent together in Arles...


Night Cafe at Arles - Gauguin
night cafe guaguin.jpg

Gauguin's vision of the Night Cafe exemplifies his monolithic sort of style; where living, breathing creatures take on a sort of timeless, immovable quality (which is perhaps the polar opposite of Van Gogh's propensity to capture the movement and temporal quality of his subject matter)... Stylized facial features and smoke reveal Gauguin's fascination with Japanese art... Van Gogh had tried to sell Arles as the "Japan of the South" due to the strong compositional lines found there, but in the end, it was a stipend from Theo Van Gogh that convinced Gauguin to stay with Vincent.


The Night Cafe - Van Gogh
night cafe van gogh.jpg

Van Gogh's interpretation of the Night Cafe is turbulent, unsteady - he used the most shocking contrasting tones in order to communicate his feelings about the "terrible passions of humanity". The lamp light almost seems to be radiating a sort of disquieting energy... the pool table with it's oppressive shadow is placed with such a skewed linear perspective that it feels as though it may slide out of the canvas and on top of the viewer. He described the painting to his brother as one of the ugliest he had ever made, the thickness of the paint and discordant hues all working to produce an image of the place Van Gogh described as full of 'the powers of darkness'... 'a place where one can ruin oneself, go mad or commit a crime.'



In the Garden of the Hospital at Arles - Gauguin
Garden Hospital Gauguin.jpg

Gauguin -who tended to gravitate towards symbolism, allusions and what could be described as a sort of mythical bearing he imbued into his subjects - believed that the highest form of art was drawing from the mind rather than from life. During his stay in Arles, he pushed Van Gogh to work from his imagination versus reality... a rather disconcerting method for Van Gogh. Van Gogh in turn argued the merit of working solely from life, pushing Gauguin to visit some of the spots and subject matter Vincent had a natural proclivity for... one of these locations was the hospital gardens. Gauguin's interpretation of the place ( focusing on some rather expressionless women, with their mouths covered) was very different than Van Gogh's.



The Courtyard of the Hospital in Arles - Van Gogh
Garden Hospital Van Gogh.jpg

Van Gogh's vision of the gardens is quite different from that of Gauguin's - this painting was made during the time Van Gogh spent in the hospital after nearly bleeding to death in his bed when his ear was severed. Weeks of heavy drinking, liberal consumption of absinthe, and unsettling emotional upheavals between the two, caused Gauguin to pick a fight with his slovenly, sensitive roommate. He later called Van Gogh a "crazy person". Van Gogh, supposedly in a psychotic state, cut off his ear and gave it to a local prostitute (ummm, sure... why not?), then went to bed were he soaked his bed clothes and mattress with blood... later he was found by police who were investigating the situation. There is now suspicion that this argument between Van Gogh and Gauguin (an accomplished fencer) resulted in a physical altercation, causing to Gauguin lop off Van Gogh's ear with a sword or blade. This theory is bolstered by letters passing between the two; Van Gogh penning "I will keep quiet about this and so will you" - Gauguin in turn admitting that Van Gogh was 'a man with sealed lips - I cannot complain about him'.



Les Alyscamps - Gauguin
alyscamps 2.jpg

The Ancient Roman necropolis at Arles was another landscape the painters frequented. Here Gauguin is obviously impressed by the timeless, melancholic sensation of the place instead of it's apparent beauty. Using the brushwork technique he borrowed from Cézanne, Gauguin was able to create a rather ambiguous composition without being overly fussy about reproducing the reality he was looking at as he painted. Gauguin's personality was rather forbidding and practical - he saw himself as the hero and great mentor to Van Gogh, though in reality he was rather dismissive and often highly critical of his friend (and perhaps enjoyed the desperation of the younger man who was almost puppy-like in his attempts to befriend and worship Gauguin). It is interesting to note that during Gauguin's stay with Van Gogh, he attempted to change the date of one of Vincent's paintings in order to make it appear as if it were executed after his arrival in Arles and therefore any genius it expressed would have been attributed to Paul Gauguin. The stinker.


Les Alyscamps - Van Gogh

alyscamps.jpg

Van Gogh's painting of the Alyscamps includes the poplars and sarcophagi that lined the road, which at the time was known as a "lover's lane", leading to a Romanesque chapel. The juxtaposition of life (the people strolling along) and death (the sarcophagi) would have ignited Van Gogh's emotional response - and so many of his images focus on these of themes of human existence. After these paintings of the Alyscamp were completed, rainy weather forced the men indoors, where their diametrically opposed perspectives began to grate upon each other and their shaky friendship fell apart. Oddly enough, they continued to exchanged rather friendly letters afterwards.

While they were together in Arles, Gauguin produced 21 canvases; Van Gogh produced 36. While those 9 weeks may have precipitated mental instability that would eventually undo Van Gogh, they also had a palpable and lasting impact on both artists' work.
 

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Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,022
SoCal
Here are some pieces from the rather infamous 9 weeks that artists Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh spent together in Arles...


Night Cafe at Arles - Gauguin
View attachment 22821

Gauguin's vision of the Night Cafe exemplifies his monolithic sort of style; where living, breathing creatures take on a sort of timeless, immovable quality (which is perhaps the polar opposite of Van Gogh's propensity to capture the movement and temporal quality of his subject matter)... Stylized facial features and smoke reveal Gauguin's fascination with Japanese art... Van Gogh had tried to sell Arles as the "Japan of the South" due to the strong compositional lines found there, but in the end, it was a stipend from Theo Van Gogh that convinced Gauguin to stay with Vincent.


The Night Cafe - Van Gogh
View attachment 22822

Van Gogh's interpretation of the Night Cafe is turbulent, unsteady - he used the most shocking contrasting tones in order to communicate his feelings about the "terrible passions of humanity". The lamp light almost seems to be radiating a sort of disquieting energy... the pool table with it's oppressive shadow is placed with such a skewed linear perspective that it feels as though it may slide out of the canvas and on top of the viewer. He described the painting to his brother as one of the ugliest he had ever made, the thickness of the paint and discordant hues all working to produce an image of the place Van Gogh described as full of 'the powers of darkness'... 'a place where one can ruin oneself, go mad or commit a crime.'



In the Garden of the Hospital at Arles - Gauguin
View attachment 22823

Gauguin -who tended to gravitate towards symbolism, allusions and what could be described as a sort of mythical bearing he imbued into his subjects - believed that the highest form of art was drawing from the mind rather than from life. During his stay in Arles, he pushed Van Gogh to work from his imagination versus reality... a rather disconcerting method for Van Gogh. Van Gogh in turn argued the merit of working solely from life, pushing Gauguin to visit some of the spots and subject matter Vincent had a natural proclivity for... one of these locations was the hospital gardens. Gauguin's interpretation of the place ( focusing on some rather expressionless women, with their mouths covered) was very different than Van Gogh's.



The Courtyard of the Hospital in Arles - Van Gogh
View attachment 22824

Van Gogh's vision of the gardens is quite different from that of Gauguin's - this painting was made during the time Van Gogh spent in the hospital after nearly bleeding to death in his bed when his ear was severed. Weeks of heavy drinking, liberal consumption of absinthe, and unsettling emotional upheavals between the two, caused Gauguin to pick a fight with his slovenly, sensitive roommate. He later called Van Gogh a "crazy person". Van Gogh, supposedly in a psychotic state, cut off his ear and gave it to a local prostitute (ummm, sure... why not?), then went to bed were he soaked his bed clothes and mattress with blood... later he was found by police who were investigating the situation. There is now suspicion that this argument between Van Gogh and Gauguin (an accomplished fencer) resulted in a physical altercation, causing to Gauguin lop off Van Gogh's ear with a sword or blade. This theory is bolstered by letters passing between the two; Van Gogh penning "I will keep quiet about this and so will you" - Gauguin in turn admitting that Van Gogh was 'a man with sealed lips - I cannot complain about him'.



Les Alyscamps - Gauguin
View attachment 22825

The Ancient Roman necropolis at Arles was another landscape the painters frequented. Here Gauguin is obviously impressed by the timeless, melancholic sensation of the place instead of it's apparent beauty. Using the brushwork technique he borrowed from Cézanne, Gauguin was able to create a rather ambiguous composition without being overly fussy about reproducing the reality he was looking at as he painted. Gauguin's personality was rather forbidding and practical - he saw himself as the hero and great mentor to Van Gogh, though in reality he was rather dismissive and often highly critical of his friend (and perhaps enjoyed the desperation of the younger man who was almost puppy-like in his attempts to befriend and worship Gauguin). It is interesting to note that during Gauguin's stay with Van Gogh, he attempted to change the date of one of Vincent's paintings in order to make it appear as if it were executed after his arrival in Arles and therefore any genius it expressed would have been attributed to Paul Gauguin. The stinker.


Les Alyscamps - Van Gogh
View attachment 22826

Van Gogh's painting of the Alyscamps includes the poplars and sarcophagi that lined the road, which at the time was known as a "lover's lane", leading to a Romanesque chapel. The juxtaposition of life (the people strolling along) and death (the sarcophagi) would have ignited Van Gogh's emotional response - and so many of his images focus on these of themes of human existence. After these paintings of the Alyscamp were completed, rainy weather forced the men indoors, where their diametrically opposed perspectives began to grate upon each other and their shaky friendship fell apart. Oddly enough, they continued to exchanged rather friendly letters afterwards.

While they were together in Arles, Gauguin produced 21 canvases; Van Gogh produced 36. While those 9 weeks may have precipitated mental instability that would eventually undo Van Gogh, they also had a palpable and lasting impact on both artists' work.
Van Gogh was certainly an extremely fine artist! It's a huge shame that he committed suicide so young. :(

Also, fun fact about Arles--Jeanne Calment (1875-1997) actually lived in Arles for her entire life. She was there when Van Gogh lived there in 1888 and actually saw him in her father's shop, I think. She then proceeded to live for an additional 109 years, dying at age 122 in 1997.