Giornale Nuovo je izvrstan (u međuvremenu ugašen) blog s postovima o čudnim knjigima i slikarima. Fantastični zemljopisi, arhitekture, putovanja, biljke, pejzaži i ideje; figurativne abecede, stare gravure, bibliofilski fanatizam... Evo nekoliko uzoraka:
The whole of the modern myth still in process of formation is founded on two bodies of work—Alberto Savinio’s and his brother Giorgio de Chirico’s—that are almost indistinguishable in spirit and that reached their zenith on the eve of the war of 1914.
(André Breton, Anthology of Black Humour, 1937.)
I was surprised and beguiled; Savinio mistreated his instrument so much that after each piece the keyboard had to be cleared of chips and splinters. I foresee that within two years he will have gutted every piano in Paris. Savinio will then go on to destroy every piano in the universe, which may be a true liberation.Later he moved away from music yet he never abandoned it completely. Like other musician-writers (Sorabji and Gould come to mind) his music criticism is witty and idiosyncratic; it is a shame that it is not available in English.
(Guillaume Apollinaire in Mercure de France, June 1, 1914)
If you, an adult, wish to be consistent with the proposition you keep hidden within yourself, you should trace this warning with charcoal on the foreheads of expectant mothers: ‘Attention! Here lies danger!’
Didier MassardI don’t know of a single, ready-made term that satisfactorily describes the art of Didier Massard. His beguiling photographs could be considered works of pictorialism, given their almost painterly style; and they are certainly tableau photographs, given their ‘staged’ execution—but the tableaux Massard constructs are, specifically, miniature ones: models. The only other photographer I’d heard of who worked in anything like a similar manner was Charles Matton, but in Matton’s work the miniatures take on lives of their own as self-contained objects, whereas Massard’s do not. Moreover, Matton’s photographs are all interior scenes, where Massard gives us landscapes…
At first glance, Didier Massard’s photographs create a disturbing impression which we quickly realize has been achieved by means of photographic techniques. The photographs play on the ambiguity and confusion which takes hold of us as we try to establish the relationship between what we see and what actually existed. […] We want to believe and yet, cannot quite believe, that this “has really existed.” Explaining how the photographs were made would rob them of part of their mystery, that fine, taut defining line that links the apparent and the impossible—Christian Caujolle.
[Massard] was born and raised in Paris where he received his Baccalaureate degree in art and archaeology from the University of Paris in 1975. For twenty-five years he executed commercial work as a still photographer for clients in the world of fashion and cosmetics including Chanel, Hermes, and many others. After the completion of his series Imaginary Journeys, executed over almost ten years, his career was launched and he now works exclusively on his personal projects.
His series are conceived from his imagination while drawing from our collective romantic and touristic notions of nationality and place. His exotic locales created in his studio have evoked Ireland, China, India, Holland and the cliffs of Normandy. Massard works for long periods on each of these tableaux, and ruminates that “each image is the completion of an inner imaginary journey.” Roberta Smith wrote in The New York Times “color and space combine with fastidious detail to create a sense of illusion and artifice that is more usual to painting, Magic Realist painting in particular…one’s willingness to suspend disbelief is a measure of Massard’s skill.”
House of RatsBurning Inside, an exhibition of Judith Schaechter’s work in stained glass, opens at the Claire Oliver Gallery in New York tomorrow. I mentioned Judith’s work here once before, and was delighted to hear from her again this summer, announcing both the (then forthcoming) exhibition, and her new website, House of Rats.
Judith Schaechter’s stained glass windows are composed of flash glass: a thin veneer of brilliant color bonded to paler layers of color underneath. Most of the color is harbored within the glass itself; Schaechter reveals it by sandblasting and engraving the flash and then often layering several pieces together. She models her images in black enamel, fired on the kiln, and sometimes adds silver stain or cold paint. The windows are then assembled with the copper foil technique, and installed in a light box—(source).
When I start a new piece, it’s like I’ve never done anything artwise before. All accumulated knowledge is really useless because I want to make something truly brand-new every time; like reinventing the wheel without the benefit of remembering round shapes. This may seem utterly disingenuous considering my output has a very consistent look to it […] I figure that’s because though I may be reinventing, I “independently” come to similar conclusions all the time. And obviously I can’t really forget what I know. I just don’t rely on it.—(source).
Érik DesmazièresA post some weeks ago at John Coulthart’s excellent weblog feuilleton alerted me to a recent exhibition of the graphic works of Érik Desmazières at the Musée Jenisch in Vevey, Switzerland. My thoughts echoed John’s where he wrote that ‘the catalogue for this would certainly be worth ordering:’ a week or so later a copy had found its way to me.
More Odds and Ends
Clockwise from top left:
- Anonymous (Thailand), Hand of Buddha, bronze, 15th–16th century
- Anonymous, ivory carving, 1640
- Louis Finson, The Four Elements, 1611
- Emilio Vedova, Tondo ’87-3, 1987
The Vanishing City
Butt Johnson is the name assumed by (or, perhaps—he doesn’t say—given to) a Brooklyn-based artist whose published œuvre to date comprises twenty-five remarkably intricate drawings done in ballpoint pen, and a single limited-edition print. The minute attention to detail in these works reminds me, if only tangentially, of the similarly meticulous drawings of Laurie Lipton and Paul Noble. The details below link to images copied from the artist’s website: these are all Copyright © Butt Johnson, and have been reproduced here with permission. The text below is quoted from an article about Johnson by Conor Risch.
Although he studied painting in college, post-graduation Johnson turned to ballpoint pen drawings. ‘Everything changed in ’01,’ he says, ‘I discovered these Victorian securities engravings that were done literally as railroad bonds in the turn of the century, and I started getting really interested in this tradition of engraving.’ […] The bond engravings, with their elaborate borders, backgrounds and ornamentation, were created not only to look impressive but also to prevent counterfeiting, which meant incredible levels of detail. […] According to Johnson, the intense patterns on the bond engravings were created using geometric lathe-work. Johnson managed to create his own patterns with spirographs and rulers, and then folded pop culture imagery into his borders and backgrounds.
In addition to the Victorian engravings that first caught Johnson’s eye, he cites as influences Italian architect, archeologist and engraver Giovanni Piranesi, Venitian painter Giandomenico Tiepolo, and the work of German anatomist Bernhard Siegfried Albinus […]. ‘I wish I could say that I studied [these master techniques] formally,’ says Johnson, but it’s just me crapping around the internet mostly, looking up stuff. And trolling around in the Strand looking at all the books.’ […] Johnson says his drawings take him roughly three months to complete, a schedule that makes it difficult to gather enough material for a gallery show.
I suggest to him that our culture might appear unimpressive next to those we’ve grown up studying, but he disagrees. ‘I’m sure they’ll find our little plastic G.I. Joes in two hundred thousand years—and they’re going to last that long—and I’m sure they’re going to be in a lot better shape than the rocks we find from other cultures’ he says as he scrolls through images on his computer. ‘Considering the technology that we have, will they be able to access this stuff? Who knows. But if you’re just talking about remnants they can go to a landfill and find the most incredible things.’
I’m grateful to Judith Schaechter for her e-mail of a few days ago, which led me back to some images of her work (a few of which I’ve reproduced below) at the Philadelphia-based missionCREEP site. Ms Schaechter is an artist whose preferred medium is that of stained glass…
I guess it can all be chalked up to phototropism. I took stained glass as an elective in art school (I was a painting major at the time) and haven’t quit yet. […] Ironically, I find my “artistic voice” is liberated only by the severest of technical restrictions. The more monotonous and difficult a process, the more exciting I find it. Incidentally, for this reason I’ve always found the process of painting intolerable. Nothing is more horrible than a blank canvas and nothing more easily filled with meaningless, arty brush strokes. […] Another major reason I stick with stained glass is because I think the raw material is pretty. The uncut sheets of colored glass are really seductive, awesome, and unarguably lovely things. Naturally, the temptation to cut and damage all that pristine beauty is too much for me to resist.
Update, July ’07. Judith has informed me that there is a new website devoted to her work: see it here.
British artist Paul Noble has received widespread international recognition for his monumental eight-year project—the meticulous depiction of a fictional city called Nobson Newtown. Noble is a master draughtsman, whose wall-sized drawings offer aerial perspectives over a fantastical cityscape that echoes the visionary ethos of projects such as the Garden City Movement—source here.
…Nobson Newtown and its environs might owe something to Dickens’s Coketown, to Viz comics, to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and his graphic work for Monty Python […] Nobson, too, is built on words. Many of Noble’s blocky, modernist-looking houses […] are derived from Nobfont, a geometric typographic font also invented by the artist. […]The 3x4m drawing Nobson Central presents acres of ruination that might belong in bombed-out Baghdad or Kabul or an earthquake zone, row upon row of what appear to be modernist slums, concrete dwellings whose walls are breached and pocked, their flat roofs gone.
[…] The configuration of the rows upon rows of buildings actually spells out the opening lines of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. But why board up the windows of a house whose walls are open? Why put out the neatly tied binbags when everywhere is rubbish strewn? The details are terrific: clods of concrete writhe and dangle like bad sculpture on twisted stanchions, a perky satellite dish points skyward, a trellis hangs on a side wall (perhaps waiting for Eliot’s April lilacs), a pipe pumps muck, uselessly, from shell-hole to midden. Whether all this devastation was wrought by friendly bombs, unfriendly builders or enemy mortars we shall never know—source here.
Nobson is a new town with old customs and beliefs, complete with chemical works, quarry, slums and a palace by the sea. There is also a hospital (Nobspital) and a building called Trev—source here.
The origins of this ‘exercise in self-portraiture via town planning’ lie in the painstaking design of a special font based on the forms of classic modernist architecture. Variously described as ‘3-D Scrabble tiles’ or ‘Lego blocks’, Noble’s pictograms name the buildings that they depict. From the hospital (Nobspital) to the cemetery (Nobsend) via the town centre (Nobson Central) or the Mall, citations from Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, Gerard Winstanley’s letters to Oliver Cromwell or T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland are camouflaged within the fields, the trees or the brickwork. Noble’s project embodies a complex infrastructure of civil planning, social policies and historical perspectives—source here.
Xul SolarXul Solar (1887-1963) was an Argentine painter, sculptor, writer, and inventor; a visionary utopian; an occultist and astrologer who yet remained catholic; an accomplished musician who was fluent in seven languages, two of which were of his own devising; and a minor character in Borges’s Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius. The following images are scans from the catalogue Xul Solar: Visiones y revelaciones, which was published in 2005 to coincide with a major exhibition of his work, staged in Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Mexico City and Houston.
HoutinThe French printmaker François Houtin (1950- ) is an artist whose work has been devoted almost exclusively to the depiction of imaginary gardens. Houtin was born and grew up in Craon, near Mayenne, in the rural Haut-Anjou region. He moved to Paris in 1971, from which time he worked as a gardener and floral designer, while training to become a landscape architect. Finding his horticultural visions at odds with real-world constraints, he sought alternative means of bringing them to life, and began studying etching and engraving at evening-classes under the direction of Jean Delpech, who also trained such notable printmakers as Phillipe Mohlitz and Erik Desmazières.
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Carlo Maggi’s VoyageNewly-posted in Curiosities of Literature today, is Isaac D’Israeli’s article, Of a Biography Painted, which describes a curiosity more pictorial than literary: the so-called Codex Maggi, a manuscript tracing the adventures and misfortunes of ‘Charles Magius, a noble Venetian,’ which ‘consisted only of eighteen pages, composed of a series of highly finished miniature paintings on vellum, some executed by the hand of Paul Veronese.’ D’Israeli had never seen the codex himself, and based his article on an account of it written (ca. 1761) by Louis César de La Baume le Blanc, the duke de la Vallière (1708-1780). The codex now belongs to the Bibliothèque National de France. The paintings from its pages were reproduced in a book, Le Voyage de Charles Magius, 1568-1573, published by Anthèse in 1992: the following images are details of scans of the reproductions therein.
LequeuJean-Jacques Lequeu’s name has come to be linked with those of Étienne-Louis Boullée and Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, at least since the publication of Emil Kaufmann’s 1933 book Von Ledoux bis Le Corbusier. The three were all architectural visionaries, who sketched fanciful and often extravagantly unconstructable buildings, and all were active at the advent of the French revolution. Unlike his two contemporaries, however, Lequeu (1757-1825) never belonged to the architectural establishment. He worked as a draughtsman at Rouen, and later, from 1779, in Paris, variously at the Cadastre (Land Registry), the Ecole Polytechnique, and the Interior Ministry.
A.G. RizzoliIn 1990, a young woman brought some peculiar architectural drawings she had found several years earlier to San Francisco gallery-owner and collector Bonnie Grossman with a view to selling them. The drawings were highly elaborate, but the buildings they depicted were imaginary. They were signed, but the artist’s name was altogether unknown. Grossman was fascinated: she bought the drawings, and, after doing a little detective-work, tracked down a much larger collection of works by the same artist, one A.G. Rizzoli, which she found in his great-nephew’s garage.
István OroszIstván Orosz (1951-), is a Hungarian graphic artist who has worked as a theatre-designer and an animator, and has produced numerous poster-designs and series of woodcuts and engravings. His smaller-scale graphic works are notable for their optical trickery, and brain-twizzling Escher-like illusory effects.
It is difficult—and pointless—for me to say much about the pictures themselves, but if you enjoy having corners pop in and out, if you like labyrinths, endless stairs, columns that are impossible to count, and if you then begin to think about the play between content and form, you will find rich pasture for your mind to graze - Rene Wanner (source).
PetrantoniWhen my wife and I go to Malmö, we will usually make a point of stopping by the Pressbyrån store at the Central Station to pick up an armful of English-language magazines, of which they stock a fine selection. On one of our recentest visits there I bought a copy of Defrag, an Italian publication (but with English text, too) whose focus is on ‘Art [particularly ‘Street’ Art], Music and Urban Culture’. Of all the images therein, my eye was drawn in particular to some black-and-white collages by a Designer and Artist called Lorenzo Petrantoni.
I am a picture thief […] My search leads me to the past and I scour through old books, magazines and encyclopaedias for iconographic booty - source here.
‘Misfortunes of the Immortals’ and ‘The Hundred-Headless Woman’Une Semaine de Bonté (A Week of Kindness, 1934) is the best-known of Max Ernst’s ‘collage novels’, but was not the first. As early as 1922, Ernst had collaborated with the poet Paul Eluard to produce a small volume of texts illustrated by twenty-one collages, entitled Les Malheurs des Immortelles (‘Misfortunes of the Immortals’). The first two images below belong to this series.
Disparate elements are here brought together in a less complex and more acute form. The man-beast hybrid makes its appearence and transforms an idyllic interior into a demonic stage-set … The twin starting-points of Max Ernst’s expressive impulse are a search for appropriate avenues for working out in visual terms the private obsessions of his childhood, and also his understanding of the Freudian analysis of such obsessions. His relationship with an authoritarian father, the pressures of middle-class family life, are psychoanalytically interpreted … - U.M. Schneede.
In contrast to the later Une Semaine de Bonté, La Femme 100 Têtes lacks thematic unity. Max Ernst likes to pounce on taboo subjects. Often the theme of a picture is the Immaculate Conception; on one occasion it is Extreme Unction; then St Nicholas walking on the waters like Christ (and steered by remote control), and finally God the Father involved in an underground railway accident. This anticlerical tendency […] finds expression in the sarcastic distortion of religious rites. Another frequent feature is the exposure of repressed middle-calss notions about sex… - U.M. Schneede.
Floating FruitThe engravings in Johann Christoph Volckamer’s 2-volume opus Nürnbergische Hesperides (1708/1714) bring to us a surreal parade of Bavarian and Italian locales above which enormous citrus fruit hover ominously…
Volckamer’s prints were made during a period in which it was fashionable among the aristocracy in Central Europe to grow these Mediterranean fruits despite the cold winter climate. Wealthy people built tall greenhouses or ‘orangeries’ to shelter the trees during the winter, and had the plants moved outdoors in the summer. […]The prints follow a distinctive format, in which prize varieties of citrus fruits in monumental scale float in the sky above bird’s-eye views, or the plants tower over Lilliputian landscapes of the formal gardens, palazzos and country houses where they were grown. The places shown are in Nuremberg and northern Italy, especially around Verona. Each specimen is decorated with a ribbon bearing its name. The prints were engraved by various artists - source here.
James Henry PullenYesterday’s post at the reliably excellent things magazine weblog discussed an on-line project about the Cane Hill Asylum in Surrey. This prompted me to remember that there had been an asylum not far from Redhill, the Surrey town where I lived for most of ’99 and ’00, and I wondered, momentarily, if this were the same asylum. After a few minutes’ rifling through some dusty boxes in my memory I concluded that it was not, when I recalled the name of the place, Royal Earlswood: originally an ‘Idiot Asylum’, it is now a luxury apartment complex.
I had heard it said that Earlswood Asylum had become ‘Royal’ because one of Queen Victoria’s feeble-minded relatives had been confined there. I could find no confirmation of that claim, but did discover that there was one inmate of the asylum who attained a certain celebrity. His name was James Henry Pullen, who earned a reputation as an idiot-savant thanks to his fantastically elaborate carvings and meticulously-built models.
This amazing model has been described as the Mystic Representation of the World as a Ship, and was built by Pullen in 1866. He created a half-hemisphere globe, with a central sun through which could be seen the Queen’s cabin with table, writing materials, despatch boxes and ‘other requisites for use and ornamentation’. It is decorated outside by the moon, stars, a rainbow, clouds and flashes of lightning and a comet for a rudder - Freda Knight.
ŠvankmajerI had no idea that Czech animator Jan Švankmajer works in other media too: notably sculpture and graphic art.
Mira Calligraphiæ MonumentaI felt like adorning thse pages with some scans from my copy of the facsimile edition of the Mira Calligraphiæ Monumenta (a book I’ve mentioned a couple of times before), so, here we are:
Folio 13: Medlar; poppy anemone; common pear.
Folio 40: Imaginary butterfly; snakeshead; english walnut; sweet cherry.
Folio 51: Unidentifiable caterpillar; common pear; tulip - pink - bordered white; purple snail.
Folio 60: Pink tulip; imaginary insect; worm.
Folio 64: European wild pansy; artichoke.
Folio 94: Hyacinth - white bud; black mulberry; unidentifiable caterpillar.
Theatrum CometicumFrom an on-line exhibition at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, come the following images, drawn from a coloured copy of Stanislaus Lubinetski’s 1667 treatise Theatrum Cometicum.
Mighty talke there is of this Comet that is seen a’nights; and the King and Queene did sit up last night to see it, and did, it seems. And to-night I thought to have done so too; but it is cloudy, and so no stars appear. But I will endeavour it. - Dec. 17th
My Lord Sandwich this day writes me word that he hath seen (at Portsmouth) the Comet, and says it is the most extraordinary thing that ever he saw. - Dec 21st
…I’ve been experiencing dreams & seeing images of places elsewhere, maritime places, cool & breezy, distant but present & bright. It’s not a homesick feeling exactly… but almost a lure ‘come away’ I’m trying to tell myself perhaps… I’ve seen the comet! just like predicted, there it was after dusk, to the north-west, tail facing up & to the right, hazy blob at the head… It sounds like there’s a houseful of rejoicing Catholics downstairs. But then it is nearly Easter & they’re probably very devout.
Holiday ReadingI like the remark attributed to Robert Proust about his brother's masterpiece: the sad thing is that people have to be very ill or have broken a leg in order to have the opportunity to read 'In Search of Lost Time'. It is true that I've made my best progress through the book on idle vacation days, when empty hours couple together like vacant railway carriages into long, static trains of time yawning to be filled.
Heartened by my rapid progress through the the second half of The Guermantes Way, I opted to plough direcly into Sodom and Gomorrah, which I found very little trouble to get through, enjoying the first half in particular, which continued the narration of Marcel's entry into Parisian high society. By the end of Christmas week, I'd finished that too, and now I find myself fifty pages or so into The Prisoner (aka The Captive), the first part of volume five.
One of the most fascinating, to my eyes, of the artworks discussed in the book is an illustrated manuscript entitled Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta, a collaboration of sorts between the Croatian calligrapher Georg Bocksay and the Flemish miniaturist and illustrator Joris Hoefnagel. Bocksay, a virtuoso penman, had been commissioned to compile what amounted to a very elaborate calligraphy sampler by his patron, Emperor Ferdinand I. Thirty years later, Ferdinand's grandson (Rudolf II), asked Hoefnagel to illuminate the manuscript, a task he executed to outstandingly beautiful effect:
Fly, Moth, Caterpillar, Pear
Trompe-l'Oeil Stem (reverse of previous page)
Dragonfly, Common Pear
Linkovi na sve postove:
- Thank You, and Goodnight! - The Giornale’s final entry, including some illustrations from Serafini’s Pulcinellopedia.
- Ghisi - Allegorical engravings by the 16th-century Mantua-born printmaker.
- House of Rats - More works by stained-glass virtuosa Judith Schaechter.
- Érik Desmazières - Evocative contemporary etchings of imaginary places.
- Alberto Savinio - Composer, musician, painter, writer & De Chirico’s brother.
- Didier Massard - Imaginary landscapes made by photographing miniature tableaux.
- More Odds and Ends - The Artempo exhibition in Venice; Brian Dettmer’s carved books; Tiger Tateishi.
- Van de Venne’s Album - A portfolio of watercolours depicting life in 1620s Holland.
- Butt Johnson - Remarkably intricate drawings by a contemporary Brooklyn-based artist.
- Eva Bonnier - A 19th-century Swedish portrait-painter.
- Veridicus Christianus - Images from the first Jesuit emblem-book by Phillips and Theodoor Galle.
- Marc Dennis - Vivid realist paintings by the New York-resident contemporary artist.
- Tales of the Arabesque - Cursory outline of the decorative style inspired by elements from Islamic art.
- Laurie Lipton - Dauntingly-detailed pencil-drawings by the American-born artist.
- Palmer’s Sketchbook of 1824 - An album of drawings by the nineteen-year-old artist.
- Eisbergfreistadt - A project by Kahn & Selesnick documenting a fictional principality established on an iceberg off the Baltic port of Lübeck.
- Arent van Bolten - Grotesque prints and sculptures by a little-known Dutch artist.
- Crispin de Passe - A brief overview of the life & work of the 16th/17th-century Dutch-born engraver.
- Xul Solar - Watercolours by the Argentine painter, sculptor, writer, and inventor.
- Hard Stones and Rain Flower Pebbles - More works in pietre-dure and some ornamental Chinese pebbles.
- Della Bella - Works by the 17th-century Florentine printmaker.
- Soehnée - Singularly-weird drawings made in 1818-9 by an obscure Alsatian artist.
- Callot - A handful of works by the prolific printmaker.
- Matton - Interior spaces painstakingly reconstructed in miniature.
- Houtin - Etchings depicting imaginary gardens.
- Mélancolies - Graphic works depicting sadness, desidia, sloth, acedia...
- Ciafferi, Poli & Poli - Three little-known 17th/18th-century Italian artists.
- Greetings from... - A collection of misprinted postcards.
- Schulz - Slightly perverse cliché-verre prints by the author of The Street of Crocodiles.
- Habert-Dys’s Alphabet - A late 19th-century illustrated alphabet.
- Engraved and Etched English Title-Pages (ii) - More ornamented pages, including work by John Droeshout, Abraham Bosse, Francis Barlow, Wenceslas Hollar and William Faithorne.
- Engraved and Etched English Title-Pages (i) - Pictorial pages by William Hole, Simon and William de Passe, Christophe Le Blon, Thomas Cockson, Thomas Cecill and William Marshall.
- Peake - Illustrations of Dickens by the novelist, draughtsman, poet & playwright.
- The Naming of Names - Botanical illustrations as reproduced in Anna Pavord’s book.
- ‘Master L. D.’ and ‘Juste de Juste’ - More prints from the Fontainebleau school.
- Anatomy, Geometry - Two images from Cheselden’s Osteographia; and two images from the manuscript original of Stoer’ Geometria et Perspectiva.
- The Genius of Castiglione - A selection of etchings by Il Grechetto.
- Griemiller’s Rosary - A richly-illustrated alchemical manuscript from Bohemia.
- Basoli’s Alphabet - Elaborate lithographs published in 1839: ‘a collection of pictorial thoughts composed of objects beginning with the individual letters of the alphabet.’
- The Genius of Salvator Rosa - Graphic works by the 17th-century painter, satirist & songwriter.
- The Life of the Dead - A 1933 collaboration between American poet Laura Riding Jackson and British painter John Aldridge.
- Faust in Prague - A sinister-looking manuscript (in fact an 18th-century fake) purporting to be a handbook such as that used by Faust to conjure spirits.
- Denton Welch - Sparkling prose and ‘prettified surrealism.’
- Into the Wood - A strange tale by Robert Aickman, and a vacation in the Swedish woods.
- Miscellaneity, etc. - Reflections on the motley and the various, inspired by Neil Kenny’s book The Palace of Secrets, and its account of the works of Béroalde de Verville.
- The Golden House Revisited - 18th-century depictions of the decorative frescoes in the Domus Aurea.
- Morghen and the Moon - An 18th-century Florentine printmaker’s depiction of a voyage from the Earth to the Moon.
- Jean Mignon - Prints associated with the Fontainebleau school: specifically those based on designs by Luca Penni.
- Civitas Veri - Del Bene’s allegorical poem, and its intriguing engraved illustrations.
- Faces of the Grotesque - A brief overview of the decorative style born with the rediscovery of Nero’s Domus Aurea, illustrated with a variety of stylised faces.
- Clovio, and the Farnese Hours - An illuminated manuscript nine years in the making.
- Theatrum Mortis - Valvasor’s ‘Theatre of Death:’ a book comprising a Totentanz, a catalogue of notable deaths, and depictions of infernal torments.
- Gnoli’s ‘Modern Bestiary’ - A set of drawings made in 1968 by the Italian artist subtitled Cos’è un mostro, (What is a monster)?
- De Gheyn - The Antwerp-born painter and graphic artist, and his works naer het leven (from the life), and nyt den gheest (from the mind or spirit).
- Pictorial Stones - Stones naturally patterned with ‘landscapes,’ etc.; decorated stones; and pietre-dure work.
- Paulini’s ABC, etc. - Some letters from an elaborate mannerist alphabet, engraved by an obscure Italian.
- Merian - A small selection of works by the Swiss-born engraver.
- Bellange - The idiosyncratic mannerist etchings of an artist employed at the court of the Dukes of Lorraine, in Nancy.
- Gallows Literature - Some snippets from Charles Hindley’s compilation Curiosities of Street Literature.
- Эмблемы и символы - Emvlemy i Simvoly: the only Russian emblem-book.
- Carlo Maggi’s Voyage - The Codex Maggi: a A Venetian diplomat’s painted biography.
- The Grapes of Ralph - A selection of Ralph Steadman’s illustrations for a ’90s Oddbins catalogue.
- A Paper Museum, and the Academy of Lynxes - Cassiano del Pozzo’s Museo Cartaceo and the Accadmia dei Lincei founded by Cesi, et al.
- Varo - More paintings by the Spanish-born surrealist.
- Reading Browne on the Bus - The works of Sir Thomas Browne, and the peculiar afterlife of his skull.
- ‘Repræsentatio,’ etc. - Christmas & New Year ’05/’06; illustrated with engravings by Georg Donauer, after designs by Balthasar Küchler.
- Images of the Gods of the Ancients - Vincenzo Cartari’s illustrated 16th-century book on the Græco-Roman pantheon.
- Typotius - A compendium of imprese, and the man who got top billing on its title-page.
- This Page Has Intentionally Been Left Blank - Autumnal reflections, and some drawings by Giambattista Tiepolo.
- A Fine, Useful Booklet - A treatise on ‘perspective for dummies’ dating from 1531.
- Personages - A small selection of paintings by Remedios Varo.
- Steingruber’s Alphabet - An 18th-century architectural alphabet: ground-plans and elevations modelled on individual letter-shapes.
- De’ Grassi’s Animals - More images from a 14th-century manuscript ‘notebook.’
- De Bry’s Alphabets - Johann Theodor’s 1595 Neiw Kunstliches Alphabet and the 1596 Alphabeta et Characteres.
- Neuw Grottessken Buch - Exuberantly grotesque designs by the goldsmith Christoph Jamnitzer.
- Kircher’s Obelisks - The polymath on hieroglyphs on obelisks in Rome.
- The Republic of Dreams - About imaginary realms in general, and Jerry Crimmins’ surreal République in particular.
- Redon, Again - More Noirs by the 19th-century painter.
- Hepburn’s Alphabets - Alphabets real and fanciful as printed on a broadside engraving designed by a Scottish Jesuit in 1620.
- A True Account of What Happen’d in the Kingdom of Sweden - In an appendix to Joseph Glanvill’s posthumous book about the dangers of witchcraft.
- The Discovery of a World in the Moone - 1638 treatise by John Wilkins.
- Bracelli - The slender graphic œuvre of the creator of the Bizzarie di Varie Figure.
- Raimondi - Images by the master-engraver, active in early 16th-century Rome.
- The Empire of Vegetables - Humourous illustrations by Amédée Varin.
- Lucas van Leyden - A master-engraver working in the early 16th century.
- The Dream of Raphael - A complex and puzzling engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi: nothing to do with Raphael.
- Cort’s and Floris’s Virtues - A suite of mannerist engravings published in Antwerp in 1560.
- Lequeu - More visionary architecture (and other weirdness) from 18th-century France.
- Maschere della Commedia - Commedia dell’Arte-inspired images by Daniele Scarpa Kos, Luigi Serafini, Giandomenico Tiepolo and Maurice Sand.
- Patientia - An emblem-book in manuscript: the work of a young Joris Hoefnagel.
- Bruegel: Seven Vices and a Virtue - More engavings after designs by the Flemish master.
- Atalanta Fugiens - Michael Maier’s ‘multimedia’ alchemical treatise.
- Boullée - Visionary architecture from 18th-century France.
- Michelangelo’s Dream - The complex symbolism in a single drawing.
- A.G. Rizzoli - The visionary architectural designs of an eccentric draughtsman.
- Bruegel’s Proverbs - Engravings illustrating Netherlandish proverbs after designs by the famous painter.
- De’ Grassi’s Alphabet - Images of the figurative alphabet from a 14th-century manuscript.
- Théâtre d’Amour - A hand-coloured compilation of love-emblems dating from 1620.
- Psalmanazar - An 18th-century impostor, including some images from his Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa.
- Mitelli’s Games - Card, dice and board games designed by the Bolognese printmaker.
- Bishop Wilkins’s Ark - A digression about the practicality of Noah’s Ark, in the Essay Towards a Real Character.
- The Ship of Fools - Sebastian Brant’s satirical poem and its woodcut illustrations.
- Malpertuis - An appreciation of Jean Ray’s unusual novel.
- More Mitelli - Further examples of the Bolognese engraver’s work.
- István Orosz - Anamorphic images and other works by the Hungarian graphic artist.
- Max Klinger - Some graphic works from the 1880s.
- Of Winters & Lost Works - Arcimboldo’s personifications of winter; mention of some lost works by the same artist.
- Giuseppe Maria Mitelli - The Bolognese printmaker, active in the late 17th & early 18th centuries.
- Figurative Alphabets - Alphabets whose letters are composed of pictures of animals or people.
- Judith Schaechter - A contemporary artist notable for working in the medium of stained glass.
- Aldrovandi’s Watercolours - Paintings of zoological subjects commissioned by the natural philosopher.
- Nobson Central - Paul Noble’s magnificently obsessive drawings.
- Curiosities of Literature - Announcing a project to digitise Isaac D’Israeli’s 19th-century compendium of book-lore.
- The Late Max Ernst - Paintings from the artist’s old age.
- Circulus - A sequence of mannerist engravings by Phillips Galle after designs by Maarten de Vos.
- More Belgian Art - Paintings from late 19th-century Belgium.
- Brief Reflections on Spam - Thoughts on the then-vexatious problem of comment-spam.
- Ensor vs Khnopff - The contrasting careers of two Belgian painters.
- A Map of Schlaraffenland - A satirical map of an imaginary country.
- Hoefnagel & Hoefnagel’s Archetypa - Emblematic engravings by Jacob H., based on designs by his father, Joris.
- Psychobox - Concerning a compilation of psychological tricks and tests, illustrated with optical illusions.
- The Discovery of America - A book of drawings by Saul Steinberg.
- Burnet’s Sacred Theory - The geological treatise Telluris Theoria Sacra and its accidental influence on aesthetics.
- Max Ernst’s Blues - Some paintings made in the years 1957-9.
- Vertumnus, Autumns - Personifications of Autumn, by Arcimboldo, and his painting Vertumnus.
- Elsheimer - About the 15th/16th-century German-born painter: the first to portray an astronomically correct night sky.
- Under the Hill - Aubrey Beardsley’s unfinished novel.
- ‘Behmenists and Philadelphians’, etc. - About the English followers of the mystic Jakob Böehme, illustrated with images from Böehme’s works.
- Il Ballarino - Images from Fabritio Caroso’s 1581 dance-manual, etc.
- Haavikko - Some English translations of works by the Finnish poet.
- Lambsprinck - Emblematic images from the 1625 alchemical tract De Lapide Philisophico.
- The Flight into Egypt - The book-art of Timothy C. Ely.
- Les Raisons des Forces Mouvantes - The 1615 treatise by Salomon de Caus.
- Drolleries - Marginal decorations from the illuminated manuscript known as the Croy Hours.
- The Mantegna Tarot - Neither a tarot, nor the work of Mantegna.
- Mantegna, Engraver - 15th-century engravings attributed to the Venetian painter and draughtsman.
- Petrantoni - Black-and-white collages by the contemporary Italian artist/designer.
- Bretschneider - Images from the 1617 emblem-book Pratrum Emblematicum.
- de’Barbari - 15th/16th-century engravings by the man Dürer called ‘Meister Jakob.’
- Summer - Personifications of Summer by Arcimboldo.
- Campagnola - Early 16th-century engravings.
- ‘The Hundred-Headless Woman,’ Continued - More of Max Ernst’ collages.
- ‘Misfortunes of the Immortals’ and ‘The Hundred-Headless Woman’ - Early collage-sequences by Max Ernst.
- Istanbul - The elusive quality of childhood memories.
- Father Cats - A 1627 emblem-book with verses by the Dutch jurist, diplomat and poet Jacob Cats.
- The Kings of Redonda - M.P. Shiel, John Gawsworth, Javier Marías and the ‘Kingdom’ of Redonda.
- Paula Rego - More graphic works by the Portuguese-born artist.
- The Apollo Prophecies - A thirty-six foot long black and white panoramic photograph, and other works, by Kahn and Selesnick.
- Balli di Sfessania - Images of Commedia dell’Arte characters as etched by Jacques Callot.
- Lilacs - Mikhail Vrubel’s painting, and the flower itself.
- Gillray, Continued - Conclusion of a brief account of the caricaturist’s life and work.
- Gillray - First part of a brief account of the caricaturist’s life and work.
- Bletted Medlars - Regarding the medlar, and the mention of it in Robert Aickman’s novel The Late Breakfasters.
- The Suit of Books - Jost Amman’s 1588 designs for playing-cards with decidedly non-standard suits: Ink-pads, Books, Drinking-cups and Pots.
- A Fourth Spring - Arcimboldo’s personifications of Spring.
- More ‘Natural Curiosities’ - More images from Albertus Seba’s Thesaurus.
- Mayday in Munich - A visit to the Alte Pinakothek museum in Munich.
- Velly - More paintings by the Breton-born artist.
- Kahn & Selesnick - Photographs from the duo’s Scotlandfuturebog series.
- Four Babels - Four 16th-century depictions of the Tower of Babel.
- Moralia Bornitiana - Jakob Bornitz’s 1678 emblem-book.
- Figurines - William T. Vollmann; Soviet-era ceramics by Natalya Dan’ko; Anna Akhmatova.
- Proscenium Vitæ Humanæ - Images from the 1627 emblem-book produced by Johann Theodor de Bry.
- Arcimboldo’s Elements - Arcimboldo’s personifications of water, air, fire and earth.
- Anatomia Universa - Anatomical plates from the posthmously-published work of Paolo Mascagni.
- The Da Costa Hours - Images from the illuminated manuscript known as the Da Costa Hours.
- Bresdin - Graphic works by the 19th-century French artist.
- Floating Fruit - Images from Johann Christoph Volckamer’s opus Nürnbergische Hesperides.
- Decalcomania - Max Ernst’s use of this technique.
- Zichy - Erotic drawings from the 1870s.
- Starowieyski - Striking Polish film & theatre posters.
- Cellarius - Images from the Harmonia Macrocosmica.
- Perspectiva Literaria - Illustrations of geometry and perspective by the Nuremburg goldsmith Hans Lencker.
- Mikrokosmos - An emblem-book published in Antwerp in 1579, by Laurentius Haechtanus, with engravings by Gérard de Jode.
- Optotypes - Herman Snellen’s eye-test charts.
- Tom Thumb - A book for Swedish children learning English, with illustrations by Mervyn Peake.
- Before and After the Future - The pre- and post-futurist works of Giacomo Balla.
- Prodigiorum - Images from Conrad Lycosthenes’ ‘Chronicle of Omens and Portents.’
- Odd Nerdrum - Some earlier works by the Norwegian painter.
- Bernini’s Elephant - About the sculptural setting of the obelisk in Rome’s Piazza della Minerva.
- Jakob von Gunten - Robert Walser’s peculiar tale, illustrated with stills from the movie by the Brothers Quay.
- Anima Animus Animation - More of Jan Švankmajer’s artworks.
- James Henry Pullen - Artworks by an inmate of the Royal Earlswood Idiot Asylum.
- Della Porta - Images from the Neapolitan philosopher’s 1586 treatise De Humana Physiognomia.
- The Birth and Education of Dionysus - Engravings reproducing decorative images from Nero’s Domus Aurea.
- Redon’s Noirs - Sombre works in charcoal by the symbolist painter.
- Ruysch - Images of morbid dioramas, and an excerpt from one of Leopardi’s dialogues.
- Some Serpentine Specimens - Images from Albertus Seba’s Thesaurus.
- Švankmajer - The Czech animator’s un-animated artworks.
- The Salt, or the Ketchup? - A review of Christopher Alexander’s The Phenomenon of Life.
- Mira Calligraphiæ Monumenta - Calligraphy by Georg Bocksay; miniatures by Joris Hoefnagel.
- Athaneo - Romaguera’s Catalan emblem-book.
- Isola - A contemporary Italian painter’s puzzle-like pictures.
- The Temptations of St Anthony - Comparing interpretations of a stock subject.
- Fomenko - Mathematical art by the Russian mathematician and revisionist chronologer.
- Geometry & Perspective - Lorenz Stoer’s ‘perspectival examples specifically for craftsmen in wood.’
- Ivories - 16th/17th-century carvings of the utmost intricacy.
- Thomas Jones - A Welsh painter's informal views of 18th-century Naples.
- The Cat’s-Paw - Paintings by Richard Dadd.
- A Week of Kindness - Max Ernst’s famous collage-novel Une Semaine de Bonté.
- Vallotton’s Woodcuts - Striking 19th-century woodcuts by the Swiss-born artist.
- Martini - Alberto Martini’s illustrations of Poe.
- Shrigley - The superficially inept works of this Scottish-born artist.
- Pulcinellopedia - Regarding Luigi Serafini’s Pulcinellopedia Piccola.
- How I Found the Codex - How I came to know about Luigi Serafini’s Codex Seraphinianus.
- In a Hot-Air Balloon - The Montgolfier brothers’ first passengers: a sheep, a duck and a cock.
- Collages - Eva Lake’s works in collage.
- Theatrum Cometicum - Stanislaus Lubinetski’s 1667 treatise about comets.
- Character Heads - Expressive busts by the eccentric 18th-century Austrian sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt.
- Primo-Avrilesque - The pioneering monochrome paintings of Alphonse Allais.
- Physiognomies - Images from Le Brun’s System on Physiognomy.
- Of Things Near and Far - About the 19th/20th-century Anglo-Welsh author Arthur Machen.
- Perspectiva - Curious representations of solid geometry by the Nuremburg goldsmith Wentzel Jamnitzer.
- Bizzarie - A bizarre series of 17th-century engravings by Giovanni Battista Bracelli.
- Calendar - Images from the illuminated manuscript known as the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.
- The Strife of Love in a Dreame - Or, Francesco Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.
- Los Disparates - Some of Goya’s etchings.
- Lupercalia - Concerning Lupercalia, the city of Rome & St. Valentine’s Day; illustrated with engravings by Piranesi.
- Nursery Rhymes - Etchings by Paula Rego.
- The City - Woodcuts by Frans Masereel.
- Holiday Reading - Includes images from the illuminated manuscript known as the Mira Calligraphiæ Monumenta.
- On the Finding of a Glove - A suite of engravings by Max Klinger.
- Natura Morta - The Breton artist Jean-Pierre Velly.
- Mister Sís - The author/illustrator Peter Sís, and his book The Three Golden Keys.
- Late Roses, Early Snow - The first entry on this weblog.
"A few weeks before my thirty-fourth birthday, in October 2002, I made up my mind to open a public weblog, journal and scrapbook. Exactly five years later, I closed it. I lived these years with my beautiful wife, our dog and two cats in an apartment in an hotel in the town of Karlskrona on the Baltic coast of southern Sweden, where I worked as an IT consultant for a telecoms company.
I was born and grew up in the South Wales valleys, and attended University in London. I lived in Cardiff and Bristol, before moving to Italy (specifically Rome) for two years. Prior to relocating to Scandinavia, I spent a few years more in the UK, variously in Wales, Warwickshire and Surrey.
About the GiornaleMy Giornale Nuovo began some time before I’d heard of weblogs or on-line journals, as a heading I thought up for a tentative collection of notes that I’d begun typing into a Word document on my office PC. In fact, at that time I had no web-access from my work-station at all. The first of these notes was dated August 31st 1999...
Giornale is Italian for journal or diary (or newspaper) and nuovo simply means new. I meant that this was new when compared to the handwritten diaries I’d previously kept. My use of Italian was not entirely pretentious, as my time in Rome was still fresh in my memory, and I’d picked up a smattering of the language during my time there.
My few diary-style entries were interspersed with ideas for stories, essays, etc., and never amounted to more than a few pages in total. Even so, I made sure to bring them with me when we made our move from the UK to Sweden at the end of August 2000. A few months after our arrival here, my curiosity was pricked by an entry about on-line diaries in the memepool web-log (one of the first such I had discovered), which led me to find the Open Diary site. I began my Giornale in earnest there on January 5th 2001. By October of that same year I’d surprised myself by accumulating almost 82,000 words. Another 57,000 followed in a second instalment that kicked off at the end of January 2002.
This public version of my Giornale, began as a continuation of my ‘Open Diary,’ but changed over its first two years such that it became much more a kind of scrapbook and much less a day-by-day diary than before. I came to consider it an accumulation of inconsequential notices in the shape of a web-log. By the end of 2006, my enthusiasm for the whole endeavour had begun to falter, and I resolved to bring it to a close on its fifth anniversary.