Monday, January 30, 2006

Desktop Decongestant

Santvoort 1664**
[BibliOdyssey 400 years ago]

Philibert van Borssele, Binckhorst (1613)
This is a detail from the frontpiece of a book - no other images in it -
whose commentary makes little sense to me even when translated.

Laughing Girl
Etching by Isabel Bishop 1936
From: The Power of Woe, The Power of Life - Images
of Women in Prints from the Renaissance to the Present

at Bayly Art Museum, University of Virginia.

The Birch Bark Book © Martin Grund -
click flag for english explanation -
a book made from the bark of a birch tree
during a 4 month stay in Siberia
[via Metafilter]

Fulvio Fontana 1711 Etchings of Penitents ..Imagini**
There's a whole series of these self-flagellators and on
another day I might have made a post just about them.
But the series I saw was quite repetetive.

Joseph Ferdinand Fromiller 1744 Austria**

**These don't turn up on a regular google search so I presume I snagged them from FotoMarburg/Amsterdam University+/-PicturePedagogica image databases, where I've been rummaging of late.

Chris Buzelli

Illustrations © Chris Buzelli.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Renaissance Discoveries and Inventions

Frontpiece of the series showing example advancements,
including Columbus and his America.
[click the images for larger versions]

Mola Aquaria 'Water Mill'
"Whoever thinks that watermills were invented in ancient times is all wrong"**
Sacks of grain are brought in, weighed and ground by millstones
driven by water power. Note the mid-stream watermills in the
background (right) to take advantage of stronger currents.

Distillatio ('Distillation')
"In the fire, the juice of all bodies is turned by art into
a mighty billow, clear and most potent."**
[Interestingly, a different painted version of Distillatio is displayed
at the Levity website as an example of an alchemical laboratory]

Polituva Armorum ('Polishing Armor')
"Swords, battle-axes and all the weapons of war,
are polished in our time, not in antiquity."**
Waterwheels below the workshop power the polishing apparatus.

Conspicilla ('Spectacles')
"Also invented were eyeglasses which remove dark veils from the eyes"**
Note the advertising banner outside the optician's shop
and the seeing-eye dog in the far background.
The optical aids without arms resembled pince-nez glasses.

Color Olivi ('Oil Paints')
"The famous master Eyckius (Jan van Eyck) discovered oil
as a convenience for painters"** {early 15th century}

Mola Alata ('Winged Mill')
"The winged mill which now wants to be driven by the
winds is said to have been unknown to the Romans"**

Sculptvra in Æs ('Engraving on Copper')
"By a new art the sculptor carves figures on beaten
sheets and reproduces them on a press"**
{Developed by Florentine goldsmiths in the 1400s}

[**Translation by Dr Rosen of latin descriptors below
each engraving which are cut off in the above images.]

Jan or Johannes Stradanus (originally: Jan van der Straet or Straeten) (1523-1605) was a Flemish artist and after an apprenticeship at an Antwerp publishing house, he spent the majority of his productive life in Italy, particularly Florence.

With the patronage of Cosimo I de Medici, Stradanus painted frescoes and designed tapestries. He also combined his talents with the Galle family of engravers (Antwerp) to produce a series of successful prints including the examples above. Probably his most well known legacy is a series of engraved prints of hunting that developed from a tapestry commission he received.

24 engravings from drawings by Stradanus were included in the Nova Reperta - 'New Discoveries' - collection, which was a print series celebrating renaissance progress in art, science and technology from ~1580. There's an obvious advocacy for viewing these discoveries and technologies as wholly belonging to the age in which the prints were issued.

There may not be a wealth of direct biographical or even descriptive material on Stradanus on the web, but it's hard not to come away without the impression that this was a very influential artist whose work was copied by the best. "After Stradanus" is an often repeated phrase.

"New discoveries; the sciences, inventions, and discoveries of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance as represented in 24 engravings issued in the early 1580s" is a book or portfolio collection from 1953 from a translation by Dr E Rosen with notes by Bern Dibner and is online at the Carnegie Mellon University's Posner Libary (click 'view book pages'). It's easy to navigate - an illustration every 2nd page in small, large or HUGE format. Posner library is one of the best resources on the internet for rare book images, despite having poor search ability and no way to move through books efficiently.

Revisiting Albert Tissandier

Tlingit Indian Houses at Killisnoo, Alaska

Tlingit Amulets

Hotel Banff, Alaska

View of Tlingit Chief's House

Houses at the Rear of Westminster Avenue, Vancouver

I checked an inbound google translation link today and in addition to concluding that I sound much more sophisticated in italian (not being able to actually read italian assists with this delusion), I was reminded to go back and examine the other half of the Albert Tissandier collection at the University of Utah. [the original post] The breadth of the collection and the quality of (most of) the work makes it deserving of another post to my mind.

Tissandier's drawings and etchings were produced during a number of cross country trips made in North America in the late 1880s and early 1890s and many were published in leading magazines in his French homeland. The images here come from his later journeys in 1890 and 1893, which took him to the Pacific North-West, Canada and Alaska.

Tissandier had trained as an architect at L'École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and applied his draftsman skills to faithfully documenting the 'wild west'. His published images were often the first reference point for potential European tourists. He has also achieved some level of lasting fame in conjunction with his brother as pioneers in ballooning history - I found some great material about this searching around today and I'll post something on it in the coming week.

Albert Tissandier - Drawings of Nature and Industry in the U.S. at the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah on behalf of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. The site also includes lengthy excerpts from Tissandier's 1885 journal.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Static Horsemanship

L’Écuyer Français qui Enseigne à Monter à Cheval et à Voltiger by L. Imbotti de Beaumont in 1679 [again, at the Danish Veterinary and Agricultural Library] is apparently one of the first texts to outline the methods of trick riding (link updated Sept 2013). Imbotti drew his inspiration from William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle.

{Perhaps they were practising for a race?}
[Reminiscent of de Moulin]

Insect Images from Rare Books

There is a display of ~50 images from rare 17th and 18th century insect books by Jan Swammerdam, Francesco Redi, Augustus Iohannes Roesel von Rosenhof, J.C. Schaeffer and C.G. Jablonsky at the Danish Veterinary and Agricultural Library.

Also, definitely check out the links from this page - a large serving of natural history of the rare book variety.
Excellent resource.

The People of the World in 1723

Wien (Vienna), Austria

Kanton (Canton - Guangzhou), China

Macassar, Indonesia

Pernambuco, Brazil

Potosi, Peru

Suratte, Mongolia

Callao de Lima, Peru

Havana, Cuba
[larger jpeg at NYPL]

Archangel, Russia

Benin, Africa

Coichin (Cochin), India

Pieter van der Aa was a prolific publisher and very well known for his maps. They weren't originals but they had the reputation for being very decorative. [some examples]

In 1723 he published a 27 volume series called La Galerie Agréable du Monde which is said to have a huge number of engraved maps and illustrations. The plates were engraved by about 25 artists - principal being Aldert Meyer. It would appear that the material in this set was also copied, Meyer having illustrated a costume book in ~1700. That's all the information I could find on the internet.

The International Institute for Economic History have 23 plates from La Galerie Agréable du Monde.

Friday, January 27, 2006

French Miscellanea

The above 2 sketches are by Paul Eugène Mesplès
for a 1926 publication: la Pipe Cassée de Vadé.
Jean Joseph Vadé wrote a 4 song Parisian poem
(la Pipe Cassée) in the 18th century
['poème épi-tragi-poissardi-héroïcomique'].

From the 17th century Livre de portraiture d'Annibal Carrache.
[doctored detail]
Update: Annibale Carrachi (Italian artist)

All these illustrations come from La bibliothèque électronique de Lisieux - there are quite a few images from rare publications linked from that gallery page.
[via the wonderful Netlex News website]

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