Monday, November 28, 2011

An Ancient Easter egg Dance Game

An egg dance may be an ancient Easter game in which eggs are laid on the ground or floor and the goal is to dance among them damaging as few as possible. The egg was a symbol of the rebirth of the earth in Pagan celebrations of spring and was adopted by early Christians as a symbol of the rebirth of man at Easter.

Another kind of egg dancing was a springtime game depicted at the painting of Pieter Aertsen. The goal was to roll an egg out of a bowl while keeping within a circle drawn by chalk and then flip the bowl to cover the egg. This had to be done with the feet without touching the other objects placed on the floor.

An early reference to an egg dance was at the wedding of Margaret of Austria and Philibert of Savoy on Easter Monday of 1498.

Then the great egg dance, the special dance of the season, began. A hundred eggs were scattered over a level space coated with sand, and a young couple, taking hands, began the dance. If they finished without breaking an egg they were betrothed, and not even an obdurate parent could oppose the marriage.

After three couples had failed, middle the laugher and shouts of derision of the on-lookers, Philibert of Savoy, bending on his knee before Marguerite, begged her consent to try the dance with him. The admiring crowd of retainers shouted in approval, "Savoy and Austria!" When the dance was ended and no eggs were broken the interest was unbounded.

Philibert said, "Let us adopt the custom of Bresse." And they were affianced, and shortly afterward married”.
In the UK the dancing takes the form of hopping and sometimes called the hop-egg. There were various forms of egg-dance, but Mark Knowles writes that it was brought to England from Germany by the Saxons as early as in the 5th century. The Saxon word Hoppe means "to dance.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Beauty about the Landscape paintings

Landscape Painting depicts the scenery of the natural world with the views that impact the artist’s eye. In an effort to represent the beauty that meets the eye, the artist tries to capture that fleeting moment in time and space, for all time, thus becoming a co-creator with the original Creator.

In these visions may be any element that may be natural or man-made. Flora and fauna, the weather, light and darkness all will play a part. There may or might not be, form and color, for even the lack of it shows the painter's perception in the quest for artistry.

From the point of view of the public there is the slight difference of the merely pictorial and the melding of the artist's own sensibilities and creativity. In other words, one contains the spark of the Divine and is art while the other, merely representation.

"Landscape is a state of mind." Swiss essayist, Henri Frederic Amiel, nineteenth century.

Landscape painters are also painters of light. It is said that, the overall flood of constant heat and light in the Orient created the monochromatic styles there and the use of pure line as a graphic description. In the West, the ever shifting seasons and subtleties of changing, suffused light, created a very different style of painting, championed by artists such as the Dutch Masters, the Romantics and the sublime, W.J.M. Turner, the Impressionists and Luminists in the United States of America.

In Western art, Landscape painting before the sixteenth century, with few exceptions, such as wall pictures in the Hellenistic period, have been mostly a decorative backdrop until the seventeenth century when serious artists of 'pure' landscape were active. Even then, they were thought of as very low on the scale of subject matter, second only to the flowers and fruit varieties.

Traditionally, landscape art depicts the surface of the Earth, but there are other sorts of landscapes, such as moonscapes and stars capes for example.

The word landscape is from the Dutch, lands chap meaning a sheaf, a patch of cultivated ground. The word entered the English vocabulary of the connoisseur in the late seventeenth century.

In Europe, as John Ruskin realized, and Sir Kenneth Clark brought to view, in a series of lectures to the Slade School of Art, London, that Landscape Painting was the "chief artistic creation of the nineteenth century," with the result that in the following period people were "apt to assume that the appreciation of natural beauty and the painting of landscape is a normal and enduring part of our spiritual activity”. 

In Clark's analysis, underlying European ways to convert the complexity of landscape to an idea were four fundamental approaches:
By the acceptance of descriptive symbols,
By curiosity about the facts of nature,
By the creation of fantasy to allay deep-rooted fears of nature,
By the belief in a Golden Age of harmony and order, which might be retrieved?

Monday, November 14, 2011

About Nicholas Roerich

Nicholas Roerich, also called as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh, was a Russian mystic, painter, philosopher, scientist, writer, traveler, and public figure. A prolific artist, he created thousands of paintings and about 30 literary works. Roerich was an author and initiator of a world pact for the protection of artistic and academic institutions and historical sites and a founder of an international movement for the defense of culture. Roerich earned several nominations for the Nobel Prize.

Early life :

Roerich in translation from the traditional Scandinavian means “rich of fame”. Members of Roerich’s family occupied prominent military and administrative posts in Russia since the reign of Peter I. Nicholas Roerich’s father Konstantin Fedorovich was a famous notary who was born in Courland. N. Roerich’s mother Maria Vasil’evna Kalashnikova was descended from a long line of merchants and traders. Among friends of the Roerich’s family were such famous personalities as D. Mendeleyev, N. Kostomarov, M. Mikeshin, L. Ivanovsky et al.

Nicholas Konstantinovich Roerich was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on October 9, 1874, the first-born son of lawyer and notary, Konstantin Roerich and his wife Maria. From childhood Nicholas Roerich was attracted to painting, archaeology, history and the abundant cultural heritage of the East. When he was nine, a noted archeologist came to conduct explorations within the region and took young Roerich on his excavations of the native tumuli. The adventure of presentation the mysteries of forgotten eras along with his own hands sparked an interest in archeology that would last his lifetime.

His father did not want him to practice painting as a career, but rather to study law. He made a compromise, and after finishing his studies in 1893, Roerich at the same time entered the Saint-Petersburg University and the Emperor’s Academy of Arts. From 1895, he studied in the studio of the famous Russian landscape painter Arkhip Kuindzhi. At that time, he closely communicated with different well-known artists, writers and musicians – V. Stassov, I. Repin, N. Rimsky-Korsakov, D. Grigorovich, and S. Diaghilev. During his student years in Saint Petersburg Roerich had already become a member of the Russian archeological society. He had conducted various excavations in St. Petersburg, Pskov, and Novgorod, Tver, Yaroslavl and Smolensk provinces. From 1904, along with Prince Putyatin, he recovered several Neolithic sites at Valdai. Roerich’s Neolithic findings excited real sensation in Russia and West Europe.

In 1897, Roerich graduated Petersburg Academy of Arts. His graduation painting the messenger was purchased by famous collector of Russian art P. M. Tretyakov. V. V. Stassov, well-known enemy of that time, highly appreciated this painting: “You definitely must visit Tolstoy let the great writer of Russian land himself promoted you in painters”. Meeting with Leo Tolstoy determined the way of young Roerich. Leo Tolstoy said to him: “Have you an occasion to pass the fast river on boat? It is necessary always to drive upstream of that place where you need or river carries away you. Then in the field of moral necessities one must to drive always higher so the life all the same carries away. Let your messenger keeps the rudder very high then he sailed!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Three Witches

The Three Witches or strange Sisters are characters in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth (c. 1603–1607).

Their origin lies in Holinshed's Chronicles (1587), a history of England, Scotland and Ireland. Other possible sources influencing their creation include British folklore, contemporary treatises on witchcraft, Scandinavian legends of the Norns, Greek and Roman myths concerning the Fates, and the Bard's own imagination. Portions of Thomas Middleton's play The Witch were incorporated into Macbeth around 1618.

Shakespeare's witches are prophetesses who hail the General Macbeth early in the play with predictions of his rise as king. Upon committing regicide and being seated on the throne of Scotland, Macbeth hears the trio deliver ambiguous prophecies threatening his downfall. The witches' dark and contradictory natures, their "filthy" trappings and activities, as well as their intercourse with the supernatural all set an ominous tone for the play.

In the 18th century, as Shakespearean as well as supernatural art began to become popular, the witches were portrayed in a variety of ways by artists such as Henry Fuseli. Since then, their role has proven somewhat difficult for many directors to portray, due to the tendency to make their parts exaggerated or overly sensational. Some have adapted the original Macbeth into different cultures, as in Orson Welles' presentation making the witches voodoo priestesses.

Film adaptations have seen the witches transformed into characters familiar to the modern world, such as hippies on drugs or Goth schoolgirls. Their influence reaches the literary realm as well in such works as The Third Witch and the Harry Potter series.

The weyward Sisters, hand in hand, Posters of the Sea and Land...

In later scenes in the first folio the witches are called "weyard," but never "weird." The modern appellation "weird sisters" derives from Hollinshed's original Chronicles in which they are referred to as weird sisters.

Shakespeare's principal source for the Three Witches is found in the account of King Duncan in Raphael Holinshed's history of Britain, The Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1587). In Holinshed, the future King Macbeth of Scotland and his companion Banquo encounter "three women in strange and wild apparell, resembling creatures of elder world" who hail the men with glowing prophecies and then vanish "immediately out of their sight."

Holinshed observes that "the common opinion was that these women were either the Weird Sisters, that is… the goddesses of destiny, or else some nymphs or fairies endued with knowledge of prophecy by their necromantical science.