Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mercury at the Met

Anonymous 17th Century Spanish pen and ink of Mercury

Following on a link from the ever informative 'weekend links' of John Coulthart I discover that The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has just opened up images of some 375,000 pieces in its collection on a Creative Commons Zero license. This is brilliant news and paves the way for other large collections to get into the business of sharing their resources when in the public domain. So, of course, the first things one does on hearing such news is to high-tail it over and start exercising the search button. This, for me, usually means a series of thematic searches around my own interests. This is how I know that the museum seems to have a remarkably strong collection of images of the god Mercury, who is a particular favourite of mine. So here, by way of advertising this amazing new resource are just a few of those depictions.

Wenceslaus Hollar, 1654, Illustration to 'The Works of Virgil: Containing his Pastorals, Georgics and Aeneis.' "In a square in Carthage, Mercury approaching Aeneas from the air, warning him to leave the city" Etching




Andrea Schiavone. Etching c.1538



 Andrea Schiavone. Etching c.1538



 Mercury, the Roman God of Charity, 16th Century





Emmanuel Hannaux. Glazed stoneware. 'Head of Mercury', c.1895

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Paul Hoecker and the Secret Painting


Paul Hoecker will perhaps be best known to readers of this blog for his portrait of Nino, the lover of Baron Adlesward-Fersen on Capri (bottom). But a friend of Front Free Endpaper has recently sent images of this beautiful and delicate portrait (above). Hoecker was, according to Wikipedia, no stranger to controversy and risque paintings: he had to flee to Italy after it was claimed he used a male prostitute as a model for a painting of the Blessed Virgin. It is unsurprising perhaps then that this little painting has a secret. Hang it as above during the day, but when you are entertaining of an evening among friends of understanding, turn it around and you have a rather more overt image (below) painted on the verso. My friend who sent the pictures and I would be keen to know if anyone can fill out any details of the story about the B.V.M. portrait. If you are able, please either comment on this post or email me using the link a the top right of the blog.



Monday, February 06, 2017

WW2 Aerial Photographs


I have always had a bit of a thing for unintentionally abstract vintage photographs and today I bought a large bundle of WW2 Aerial photographs taking during bombing raids over Nazi-occupied Europe in 1943 and 1944.  Many of them show the details of the landscape beneath the plane and in some cases even show bombs falling away from the plane. The ones which really caught my eye though are ones like these scanned here which, although possibly useless for the purposes of military intelligence, give a singular impression of what it must have been like to fly on those horrific missions. Dates and places are given on all the photos, even those like these in which you can't see the ground and, poignantly, the name and rank of the photographer is also given.









 
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