Showing posts from February, 2014

Love Divine

I was recently watching a programme on the BBC called Rococo: Travel, Pleasure, Madness.   In the second episode (Pleasure) the presenter,  Waldemar Januszczak, drew our attention to the painting, "Pilgrimage on the Isle of Cythera" (1717) by  Jean-Antoine Watteau.   In classical mythology, Cythera was the birthplace of Venus.  Cronos the Titan castrated his father Uranus and threw his testicles into the sea.  The sperm from them gave birth to Aphrodite/Venus, the goddess of love.  She rose, fully formed from the waves and floated to the Mediterranean island of Cythera (Kythira).  In legend, this island was the only place where perfect love could be found, so the pilgrims in the painting would be very sad to leave. This reminded me of the aria  Fairest Isle, All Isles Excelling from Henry Purcell's semi-opera King Arthur (1691).  It is part of the final, celebratory masque to mark Arthur's victory against the Saxons and his love union with a Cornish princess.  Merlin

Incredible Shadow Machines

I've just spent a magical day at Bradford Industrial Museum, at an art workshop tied in with their current exhibition, Shadow Machines and Singing Paintings by Bradford-born artist, Steve Gumbley.  The day-long workshop had us using found and created objects to make artistic tableaux on a chosen theme.   The objects were arranged on circular stages, in a way that would cast interesting shadows and tell some kind of story.  Our group chose to combine birdcage ornaments with the cut-out Stuart silhouettes I had made for my birthday masquerade, to create a magical townscape.  Not too different from Angelio, in fact!  (The setting for the historical fantasy trilogy I am currently writing).   When the tableaux were complete, they were each transferred in turn to a revolving turntable, with a light shining on them.  The effect was truly magical!  Like a Lotte Reiniger movie.  There was also an additional activity, in which we each made an object to add to Steve's piece in the exhibit