Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Alba Amicorum

Pieter van Harinxma Coat of Arms

Pieter van Harinxma painting

Pieter Van Harinxma 1628-1630

Kunera van Douma 1605-1611
Kunera van Douma 1605-1611

Juliana de Roussel

Juliana de Roussel a

Juliana de Roussel b

Juliana de Roussel c

Juliana de Roussel d
Juliana de Roussel 1616-1645

Joost van Ockings 1576 carriageJoost van Ockings 1576

Joost van Ockings 1576 fountain
Joost van Ockings 1576

Juw Van Harinxma

Juw Van Harinxma a

Juw Van Harinxma b
Juw Van Harinxma 1625-1631

Homme Van Harinxma

Homme Van Harinxma a
Homme Van Harinxma jr 1625-1631

See previous post: 'Liber Amicorum', regarding a fully digitized 'Friendship Book' in a regional Dutch library.

The images above come from a collection of eleven 16th and 17th century Friendship Albums (Alba Amicorum) originating with the Van Harinxma thoe Slooten family of Friesland. The name of the book's owner and the dates between which contributions were made to the book are below each set of images.

The Dutch National Library have posted a number of example images from each album online. The majority of the entries are the Coats of Arms of the contributor together (often) with 'borrowed' or embellished mythological or historical scenes, many produced by local Frisian artists. [For instance, Caesar approaches the sepulchre of Alexander the Great in one image, whilst in another, the horse drawn carriage is a contemporary scene]

The dodgy translations of the site suggest that the albums vary both in the formal requirements of contributors and the nature of songs, inscriptions and poems added. They are said to provide interesting historical references about the relationships among the Frisian nobility and the student populations connected to the Van Harinxma thoe Slooten children.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Jason and the Golden Fleece

Jason seizes the Fleece from the furnace of Mars

'Jason se saisit de la Toison d'or sur l'autel de Mars'

Jason se saisit de la Toison d'or sur l'autel de Mars - detail

Médée kills the children
'Médée tuant ses enfants'

Médée tuant ses enfants - detail

Médée invokes the night
'Médée invoque la nuit'

The Argonauts are presented to the king of Pélias
'Les argonautes sont présentés au roi Pélias'

Médée cooks a mixture for Eson's body
'Médée fait des mixtions pour le corps d'Eson'

The queen gives spoiled seed to the workers
'La reine Ino fait gâter la semence qu'elle confie à des laboureurs'

La reine Ino fait gâter la semence qu'elle confie à des laboureurs - detail

The king gives Phryxus protection
'Le roi Eétez de Colchide prend Phryxus sous sa protection'

Le roi Eétez de Colchide prend Phryxus sous sa protection - detail

Jason vanquishes the dragon
'Jason vainqueur du dragon'

Jason vainqueur du dragon - detail

Jason overcomes the 2 bulls of Mars
'Jason dompte les deux taureaux de Mars'

Eétez fait recueillir les membres de son fils Absyrte
'Eétez fait recueillir les membres de son fils Absyrte'

Athamas confides in Phryxus and Helle
'Athamas conseille à Phryxus et Helle de s'expatrie'

Jason arrives in Colchide
'Jason arrive en Colchide'

Jason arrives in Colchide - detail 1

Jason arrives in Colchide - detail 2

[click on the plates and details for larger versions]

The mythical* heroic greek tradgedy of Jason and the Argonauts' epic quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece was first recorded in the 3rd century BC by Apollonius of Rhodes. It has all the elements of a great drama -- love, revenge, heroism, murder, power -- and was doubtless a popular and evolving tale in the oral tradition before being put down on paper. [*well, there may be some factual basis]

The outstandingly eccentric rendering of the story in the above engravings from 1563 has its own (less epic) history of progressive development. The images come from a series of 26 prints made for a work called 'Livre de la Conqueste de la Toison d’Or'.

The engraving work was carried out by Parisian printmaker René Boyvin (1525-1580), who is known primarily for his portraits and book of jewellery engravings. He worked off elaborate mannerist designs by the Belgian artist Léonard Thiry (in at least one case he traced Thiry's drawings to produce a mirror image of the original).

Thiry worked as an assistant to (and was greatly influenced by) Rosso Fiorentino and then Francesco Primaticcio, two leading Italian decorative artists who had been brought to the Fontainebleau Chateau near Paris by King Charles I. [see misteraitch's recent excellent post at Giornale Nuovo for elaboration on the 'Fontainebleau school']

This then was the active dissemination in northern Europe of artistic ideas of the Italian renaissance as it developed the figurative embellishments and allegorical motifs of mannerism. (Boyvin's engravings themselves gave rise to ceramic designs.)
"Engraving replaced etching as the preferred technology since engraved plates unlike etched ones could be endlessly reused. This shift, a transition from small editions produced under royal patronage to actual “urban business enterprise,” created the very means for wide dissemination of the style created for Fontainebleau."
Obviously there are ambiguous sexual/erotic themes portrayed in some of the details in the above engravings but I'm not necessarily sure I agree with the "contention that infanticide was linked to unleashed female desire" -- the depiction of Medea's {Médée} killing of her children. I didn't read the whole article however.

We are also told in a review by Ann W. Ramsey of Rebecca Zorach's book, "Blood, Milk, Ink, Gold: Abundance and Excess in the French Renaissance" [ISBN 0-226-98937-2] that there are homoerotic undertones between Boyvin and Thiry that manifest in this set of engravings. I don't specifically doubt it, but no matter how I tilt my head I can't quite see that much detail from where I'm sitting. These layers nonetheless add another fascinating element to the retelling of an old story.

An original edition of 'Livre de la Conqueste de la Toison d’Or' from 1563, sold in recent times for $196,020. Wow. (Don't forget that $20!)

All the above engravings come from the remarkable print database at La Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon -- put 'Boyvin' in the 'Artistes' section and click 'Mosaïque'. I think there are 19 from the series in total available, together with a few other unrelated works (look for the great candelabra). [Thanks again to Pita of Agence Eureka for introducing me to this most excellent repository]

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Green Breath at Golden BeeI'm guessing that the Golden Bee graphic art/calligraphy exhibition held
recently was in Moscow. (note there are 4 pages) via Russian Calligraphy LJ.

egbert codexA modest sampling of gorgeous miniatures from the 10th century illuminated
manuscript of the 4 Gospels, Der Egbert Codex. Click on one of the images top left.
The site is from an exhibition last year but I can't get the video to work.

slavonic missal animal imagesEagle, Symbol of St. John; Lion, Symbol of St. Mark.

slavonic missal miniaturesA selection of miniatures from the early 15th century 'Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić
Missal' at the Old Church Slavonic Institute website in Zagreb, Croatia

(in english). The original is held in Turkey. More info here and here.

Les Fripons Craignent les Réverbères'Les Fripons Craignent les Réverbères' 1790.
[Something of a political satire on the royal/religious/elite sections
of french society immediately following the revolution being like a
hydra monster - each head must be destroyed, as it were.]

La Paix Idyll sketchHonoré Daumier's 'La Paix Idyll' 1871.

Le Retour au XVIIIe Siècle'Le Retour au XVIIIe Siècle' (Return to the 18th century) by E.Celos.

Les SouverainsAuguste Roubille 'Les Souverains'

While searching around for 'Le Monde Renversé' images last week, I came upon a wonderful (part-flash) web exhibition site: "L'Histoire de France par l'Image 1789-1739".
Browse by the extensive themes or date or by associated metadata.
If you read french or trouble to use an online translator, there is a wealth of
information in here. Click on the '+' zoom icon for a large, screen-sized version.
For each image (photo, painting, print, sketch &c) there is a description of its
place in history and an analysis and interpretation of the work (although these textual accompaniments are apparently not working at the present moment - I did see and read them
for numerous images on a number of occasions over the last week)

Gazette du Bon Ton'La Fontaine de Coquillages Robe de Soir de Paquin'
and 'Automnale' from 'Gazette du Bon Ton'.

Le Petit Courrier des Dames
from 'Le Petit Courrier des Dames' (late 1820s I think)
The Gifu Prefectural Library in Japan have the complete set of 'Gazette du Bon Ton' (1912-1925) online (there are better quality images of the fashion plates
-- by among others, Georges Barbier -- all over the place online [for eg.]
but as far as I can tell, this is the only set in the original magazine layout).

Look and Learn Magazine“By permission of Look and Learn” - retro magazine goodness;
via Monkeyfilter/Ramage/Boynton -- yes, I had to see it in 3 places
before I discovered the wealth of British 60s and 70s visual eclectica available.

Embelmata Hieroglyphikes

Embelmata Hieroglyphikes QuarlesThe above images come from a 1669 edition of 'Emblemes and Hieroglyphikes
of the Life of Man' by Francis Quarles from a selection of images at Ebay.
The whole original work from 1635 is online among the English Emblem
Book Project
, but their images are quite small.
Speaking of Emblem books, a recent post on Metafilter
points us to all the major online Emblemata repositories

Vsevolod MeyerholdCaricature of Vsevolod Meyerhold (russian Stage Director) by Mordmilovich, 1920s.

Kabuki PrintsKabuki Prints featuring the actors Nakamura Sukegoro and Ichikawa Monnosuke.
Both of the above images come from the multilingual Global Performing Arts
database at Cornell University.
There are some 4,500 photographs, designs, videos,
programs and ephemera available - a great browse. via Resourceshelf.

Continuing the custom of invitation at a centenary post, if anyone knows of any websites featuring images of BibliOdyssey-esque material, particularly with respect to the not-America and not- Western Europe sections of the world, please email me with details. I am, however, also happy to hear about unchartered sections of the European and American biblioimagery world too. No need to be shy. All information, tips, nudges and winks are accepted. And just on that point, when people are gracious enough to comment or email me with postive feedback and I don't specifically reply, it's not because I wasn't looking. It's because I'm an unappreciative, lazy otherwise occupied sod.

Finally, I was reminded by Jessamyn that next week is Banned Books Week. And although it is only tangentially related, I've been saving this link to the Reversing Vandalism web exhibition at the San Francisco Public Library. Very cool.

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