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Posts Tagged ‘drawing

“Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere”*…

 

From Nathan Friend, hours of fun:  the Inspirograph.

* G.K. Chesterton

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As we try to remember which side of the brain on which to draw, we might spare a thought for Joshua Abraham Norton, better known as Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico; he was buried on this date in 1880.  An immigrant from South Africa, Norton became disgruntled with what he considered the inadequacies of the legal and political structures of his adopted home.  On September 17, 1859, he took matters into his own hands and distributed letters to the various newspapers in the city, proclaiming himself “Emperor of these United States”:

At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.

—NORTON I, Emperor of the United States

Norton issued a number of decrees, some of them visionary (e.g., the establishment of a League of Nations, the construction of a bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland).  Ignored by the local, state, and national governments, he spent his days inspecting San Francisco’s streets in an elaborate blue uniform with gold-plated epaulettes, given to him by officers of the United States Army post at the Presidio of San Francisco.

Norton died in poverty; but a group of San Francisco businessmen, members of the Pacific Club, established a funeral fund and arranged a suitably-dignified farewell.  The Emperor’s funeral cortege was two miles long; the procession and ceremony were attended by an estimated 10-30,000 people– at a time when San Francisco had only 230,000 residents.

 source

Written by LW

January 10, 2015 at 1:01 am

“In the landscape of extinction, precision is next to godliness”*…

 

Rafael Araujo’s illustrations are bafflingly complex—so complex that you might assume the artist uses a computer to render the exacting angles and three-dimensional illusions. And true, if you were to recreate his intricate mathematical illustrations using software, it probably wouldn’t take you long at all. But the craziest part of all is that Araujo doesn’t use modern technology to create his intricately drawn Calculations series—unless, of course, you count a ruler and protractor.

The Venezuelan artist crafts his illustrations using same skills you and I learned in our 10th grade geometry class. Only instead of stashing those homework assignments deep into the locker of his brain, Araujo uses these concepts to create his da Vinci-esque drawings. In Araujo’s work, butterflies take flight amidst a web of lines and helixes, a shell is born from a conical spiral, and the mathematical complexity of nature begins to make sense…

See more of Araujo’s work at his site, and read more at “Wildly Detailed Drawings That Combine Math and Butterflies.”

* Samuel Beckett

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As we root around for our rulers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1497 that Dominican friar and populist agitator Girolamo Savonarola, having convinced the populace of Florence to expel the Medici and recruited the city-state’s youth in a puritanical campaign, presided over “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” the public burning of art works, books, cosmetics, and other items deemed to be vessels of personal aggrandizement. Many art historians, relying on Vasari’s account, believe that Botticelli, a partisan of Savonarola, consigned several of his paintings to the flames and “fell into very great distress.”  Others are not so certain.  In any case, it seems sure that the fire consumed works by Fra Bartolomeo, Lorenzo di Credi, and many other painters, along with a number of statues and other antiquities.

bonfire source

 

Written by LW

February 7, 2014 at 1:01 am

Finding the way…

 

Almost 30 years ago a Japanese custodian sat in front of a large A1 size sheet of white paper, whipped out a pen and started drawing the beginnings of diabolically complex maze, each twist and turn springing spontaneously from his brain onto the paper without aid of a computer. The hobby would consume him as he drew in his spare time until its completion nearly 7 years later when the final labyrinth was rolled up and almost forgotten. Twitter user @Kya7y was recently going through some of her father’s old things (he’s still a custodian at a public university) when she happened upon the maze and snapped a few photos to share on Twitter…

Read the full story at Colossal; see more photos at Spoon & Tamago.

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As we get in touch with our inner Perseus, we might recall that it was on this date in 1535 that 12 Anabaptist men and women ran nude through the streets of Amsterdam, shouting “truth is naked”; in the event, they roused more anger than contemplation, much less fear.  They were detained by authorities, tried, and put to death.

A quote from Martin Luther, reformer and inspiration to Anabaptists. The rest of the passage: “There is, on earth, among all dangers, no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason. Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.”

source

 

Written by LW

February 10, 2013 at 1:01 am

The Art of Drawing Science…

Horse Anatomy
From: Anatomia del cavallo, infermità e suoi rimedi by Carlo Ruini, Published in Venice, 1618.

Many more lovely lessons at Scientific Illustration.

As we sharpen our pencils, we might wish a feathery farewell to zoologist Alfred Newton; he died on this date in 1907.  One of the foremost ornithologists of his day, he was appointed (in 1866) the first Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at Cambridge University. Though he suffered from injured hip joints and walked with the aid of two sticks, he traveled throughout Lapland, Iceland, the West Indies, and North America 1854-63.  During these expeditions he became particularly interested in the great auk– and was instrumental in having the first Acts of Parliament passed for the protection of birds.  He wrote extensively, including a four-volume Dictionary of Birds, and the articles on Ornithology in several 19th century editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

source

 

Fractured Fractals…

From the art and design blog Colossal:

Artist Sagaki Keita was born in 1984 and lives and works in Tokyo. His densely composited pen and ink illustrations contain thousands of whimsical characters that are drawn almost completely improvised. I am dumbstruck looking at these and love the wacky juxtaposition of fine art and notebook doodles. See more of his work here, and be sure to click the images above for more detail.

Indeed…

More, at Keita’s site

As we search for ever-finer nibs, we might recall that it was on this date in 1945 that Britain observed its first British Empire Day, celebrating the colonial reach achieved from the first Irish “plantations” in the 16th century through the 19th century– a reach that, by the outbreak of World War II, encompassed a quarter of the world’s population and almost a quarter of the world’s land mass.

But of course World War II, and the new global regime that it spawned, spelled the end of empire.  While 14 “overseas territories” remain under British dominion, colonization effectively ended with the hand-over of Hong Kong to China in 1997.  Indeed the process of decolonization was sufficiently advanced by 1958 that– on this date that year– the name of the holiday was changed to “British Commonwealth Day.”

The British Empire, with British Overseas Territories underlined in red (source and larger version)

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