The Droste Effect (nearly) in the Domhnach Airgid

The Droste Effect is the name given to an image containing a smaller version of that image which contains therefore a smaller version of that image and so on , to theoretically ad infinitum. The name comes from an early 20th Century Dutch brand of cacao:

The Domhnach Airgid is an early Irish book shrine on display in the National Museum of Ireland. It housed a gospel given, supposedly, by St Patrick to St Mac Cartan:

In the lower left panel we see this specific scene:

At first I was hopeful that this could be a Droste Effect, and a pretty early one – with a mini Domhnach Airgid being passed from Saint to Saint, itself incorporating a mini Domhnach Airgid. It may be in intention but is a blank rectangle… but perhaps the Droste Effect concept was at play. Wikipedia (yes I know) gives the earliest Droste image as 1320 : while this shrine dates from the 8th century the panels were remodelled in the 14th so this may not be a precursor.

but anyway , an interesting little aspect of a beautiful work

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#Inktober 2017 – the art of Mark Chilcott

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One of the joys of Inktober , as I was just posting, is finding new artists whose work resonates, or charms, or moves, or whatever. So here is another, Mark Chilcott

From his personal website, Chilcott’s usual work is a little different from his Inktober pieces, which saw inked figures interact with The Real World, including the means of their own production:

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Like many Inktoberers (including myself), the prompts “Climb” and “Fall” were combined into one handy package:

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Chilcott’s responses to the official prompts were among the wittiest and most creative I saw:

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Some personal highlights of #Inktober

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Inktober is a … well, here is the inevitable video:

So there you go – a month-long drawing challenge using ink and paper. I have been doing it, very much on the principle that If A Thing Is Worth Doing It is Worth Doing Badly.

There are “official” one word prompts:

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But you don’t have to follow them, and many don’t.

Anyway I won’t inflict my own work on this blog but some of the images I have come across by others. I have noticed a preponderance of manga-type illustrations among Inktober entrants, and as I remarked in a prior post this style of illustration is dominant in unexpected places. My own preferences are slightly different and I have tended to favour non-manga influenced pictures.

Anyway, here on no criteria other than personal taste and that I came across them, are some of my favourites from Inktober so far:

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Versions of Alcman’s “Sleep”

At First Known When Lost, Stephen Pentz collects some versions of fragmentary lines by the Spartan lyric poem Alcman. This fragment was used by Edgar Allan Poe for the epigraph of his story Silence: A Fable.

Here are the selections from First Known When Lost:

The mountain-summits sleep, glens, cliffs and caves,
Are silent — all the black earth’s reptile brood —
The bees — the wild beasts of the mountain wood;
In depths beneath the dark red ocean’s waves
Its monsters rest, whilst wrapt in bower and spray
Each bird is hush’d that stretch’d its pinions to the day.

Alcman (translated by Thomas Campbell), in Adrian Poole and Jeremy Maule (editors), The Oxford Book of Classical Verse in Translation (Oxford University Press 1995). The poem was originally published in 1821 in The New Monthly Magazine.

Night

The far peaks sleep, the great ravines,
The foot-hills, and the streams.
Asleep are trees, and hivèd bees,
The mountain beasts, and all that dark earth teems,
The glooming seas, the monsters in their deeps:
And every bird, its wide wings folded, sleeps.

Alcman (translated by H. T. Wade-Gery), in T. F. Higham and C. M. Bowra (editors), The Oxford Book of Greek Verse in Translation (Oxford University Press 1938). Wade-Gery added the title “Night” to the fragment.

The mountain-tops are asleep, and the mountain-gorges,
Ravine and promontory:
Green leaves, every kind of creeping things
On the breast of the dark earth, sleep:
Creatures wild in the forest, wandering bees,
Great sea-monsters under the purple sea’s
Dark bosom, birds of the air with all their wings
Folded, all sleep.

Alcman (translated by Walter Headlam), in Walter Headlam, A Book of Greek Verse (Cambridge University Press 1907).

Vesper

Now sleep the mountain-summits, sleep the glens,
The peaks, the torrent-beds; all things that creep
On the dark earth lie resting in their dens;
Quiet are the mountain-creatures, quiet the bees,
The monsters hidden in the purple seas;
And birds, the swift of wing,
Sit slumbering.

Alcman (translated by F. L. Lucas), in F. L. Lucas (editor), Greek Poetry for Everyman (J. M. Dent 1951). Lucas added the title “Vesper.”

I found another version on the Poetry Foundation site
:

A Version of Alcman’s (fl. 630 BCE) “Sleep” poem . . .
BY JOHN KINSELLA
Dormant are pinnacles and streams of the mountains,
Chasms and bluffs and crawlers fed by the dark earth;
Dormant are wild animals and that tribe of bees
And monsters out of the sea’s dark syntax;
Dormant are clans of birds with wings that envelop.

The Campbell translation seems to be the dominant one on the internet, but there is this whose provenance I am trying to track down:

Slumbering are the mountains, crest and chasm,
Ravine and precipice,
And every creeping thing on the earth’s dark breast,
Beasts in their forest lairs and the tribes of the bees,
And monsters within the depths of the purple seas:
Slumbering too are the birds
Their swift wings laid to rest.

(UPDATE – it is a translation by R C Trevelyan from The Bride of Dionysus, A Music Drama, And Other Poems

If you followed the link to Edgar Allan Poe’s “Silence” you would note that the epigraph is worded slightly differently to any of these versions (well, only the Campbell could possible have been used by Poe)

The mountain pinnacles slumber; valleys, crags and caves are silent

I cannot trace the rest of this translation, perhaps Poe’s own?

Alcman (sometimes transliterated as Alkman) is known only from fragments – this page collects these fragments. These particular lines come from Apollonius’ Homeric Lexicon:

Apollonius Homeric Lexicon :
Some writers give the name of beast to lions, leopards, wolves, and all similar animals, that of creeping-thing generically to the various kinds of snakes, that of monster to cetaceans such as whales; which is the distinction made by Alcman in the lines:

Alseep lie mountain-top and mountain-gully, shoulder also and ravine; the creeping-things that come from the dark earth, the beasts whose lying is upon the hillside, the generation of the bees, the monsters in the depths of the purple brine, all lie asleep, and with them, the tribes of the winged birds.

Finally, a few years ago the poet Sherod Santos published his own translations of Ancient Greek Lyric poetry, evidently a rather loose one from the poet of view of the text. This attracted the opprobium of the critic Gary WIlis and a defence by Rosanna Warren. From Warren’s defence:

Occasionally, Santos’s delight in the poems, coupled with his lack of feel for Greek, can lead to inflated phrasing. It is an effect of generosity, of ebullience, and it overruns the economy essential to Greek lyric beauty. Yet in most of these cases Santos has not betrayed the originals so much as amplified them in his imagination. So in Alcman’s fragment about the sleeping creatures of the night, Santos expands the landscape to include “the low scrub thickets and the riverine glades” and several other features absent from the original, and concludes in a lush line of summation (“all are asleep in the depthless conjuring of that sound”), whereas Alcman ended simply with the long-winged birds. Why begrudge the modern poet his riff? It has its own beauty, and Alcman’s birds survive.

Warren goes on to write:

It is not as if Sappho & Co. had fared so very well in the classicizing centuries. Each era imposes its own poetic conventions and inventions upon the classics. Sappho’s first appearance in English, in 1652 in John Hall’s version of her famous “Phainetai moi” (“He seems to me equal to the gods”), traded in all the clinical specificities of the Greek for sausage links of clichés (“sweet languors to my ravish’d heart”) far worse than Santos’s occasional indulgences. And if one traces the history of that poem in English, one finds betrayal after betrayal.

Santos is not a classicist. He does not know Greek. But his poems plucked from the Greek Anthology have more vitality, strength, and delicacy than a good number of so-called original works that cram the pages of our magazines these days. Why not be grateful?

Alexander Masters, Dido Davies and William Gerhardie

Having just blogged about Cornelius Medvei, and his friendship with the writer Alexander Masters, I came across a connection between Masters and a recurrent subject of this blog – the perpetually “lost writer” William Gerhardie.

From The Guardian:

According to his mother, Stuart Shorter had been “a real happy-go-lucky little boy” until the age of 12, after which he became for the next 20 years a “thief, hostage taker, psycho and sociopathic street raconteur”. In short he was, from Masters’s point of view, “a man with an important life”. He had been found living in and out of skips, was then given methadone to release him from heroin and began a new chapter of his life in a “cramped, dank little apartment”. It was a strange entry into ordinary life – interrupted by some radical attacks on the furniture. Masters would talk to him and eventually showed him the dog-eared manuscript of his biography. “It’s bollocks boring,” Stuart told him. “Do it the other way round … Write it backwards.”

To Masters’s astonishment this turned out to be an inspiration. It solved “the major problem of writing a biography of a man who is not famous”. So the book was created by the subject and the writer together – and with one other person thanked in the book’s acknowledgements. Without Dido Davies “I could not have got past the first pages”, Masters wrote.

Davies was also a writer and in 1990 had published one of those biographies Masters had described and derided, about semi-well-known public people. Her subject was the novelist William Gerhardie and, although Davies did not bring herself into the narrative, she had known him. In fact I first met her (with her mother) at Gerhardie’s home in London several years earlier, and was able to give her some help with her book about this talented and eccentric figure. It’s not until now that I notice at the end of her acknowledgements a tribute to Alexander Masters, for his “patient attention, his careful editing, but above all his innumerable helpful and sensitive suggestions which improved the whole tone of the book”.

Davies herself had a colourful life:

It was Dido Davies who had slid into the skip and brought out the diaries (that would form the basis of Masters’ book A Life Discarded – SS). She and Masters were long-time friends. Many years earlier, as a newly elected English fellow, she had crawled through the window of Masters’ Cambridge college and said hello. Her career was unusual. Under the name “Rachel Swift” she published two sex manuals, and, pursuing her interest in zoology, she travelled widely in Asia, occasionally giving lectures on rats and serpents. While Masters was working on this book, she had been writing a biography of Thomas More. They helped each other and she became his “writing collaborator”, giving his books direction. But in 2007, she was diagnosed with cancer, which was the cause of her death in 2013. Three years later, A Life Discarded was published and dedicated to Dido Davies.

My Best of Tipperary Stained Glass (a personal selection of ten images)

My Best of Tipperary Stained Glass (a personal selection of ten images)

Since this post from January I have been blogging intermittently picture of stained glass from Churches in Tipperary. As I wrote in that original post:

Recently visiting various churches in Clonmel I was struck by how striking the stained glass windows were. None were particularly celebrated or well-recognised, yet were – quite apart from any religious consideration – beautiful, literally luminous works of art. It struck me that they deserve to be celebrated and recorded. Perhaps there is somewhere, online or in a book, which the stained glass windows of Tipperary are collected, but here is my humble effort in that line.

I have been opportunistically taking pictures of stained glass since. I have strayed beyond just one county. I have also been frequently mortified at my lack of photo skills. It is comforting to find from others that stained glass is tricky to take pictures of.

I tend to take these photos when I get the chance – ie between work, family life and other commitments. Therefore they very much reflect my own locality and routine with a definite South Tipp bias. I also have found that Church of Ireland churches tend to be locked when I have tried to go in. I don’t want to distract from services or people at prayer so I try to avoid the times of services/masses. So these images have all been from Catholic Churches – which was not my intention at all!

Anyhow, the posts on Tipperary stained glass are as follows:

Stained Glass of Augustinian Priory, Fethard

Stained Glass from Church of St John The Baptist, Kilcash, Tipperary

Stained Glass of Holycross Abbey, Holycross, Tipperary

Stained glass from St Mary’s Church, Grangemockler, Tipperary

Stained Glass from Church of the Visitation, Cloneen, Tipperary 

Stained Glass from Powerstown, Clonmel, Tipperary Part 1

Murphy Devitt Studios Stained Glass in Chapel of St Anthony, Franciscan Abbey, Clonmel

Murphy Devitt Stained Glass from Franciscan Abbey, Clonmel.

“A kind of gospel in glass”: stained glass from the Church of the Holy Trinity, Fethard, Tipperary.

Stained Glass from New Birmingham/Glengoole, Tipperary

Stained glass from St Mary’s Church, Killenaule 

 

A random image from a site already linked to above:

sunlight through stained glass – St Anthony’s Chapel, Franciscan Friary, Clonmel

From the above I have decided to make a personal selection of my ten favourite images gathered on this stained glass adventure. I don’t pretend to be an expert, a good photographer or a systematic researcher. I am learning more and more about stained glass as time goes by but don’t intend to turn this into another arena of excess striving.

Reviewing the pictures I am rather mortified at the out of focus and generally bad images… so I will strive (irony) to improve this (and may prune egregious examples) I have decided to choose, in so far as possible, purely on aesthetic grounds and purely on the images themselves, as opposed to the place or how the window looks in reality, or any other consideration.

 

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Harry Clarke window of Our Lady of Fatima, Augustinian Abbey, Fethard, Co Tipperary
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St Anthony’s Chapel, Franciscan Abbey, Clonmel (Murphy Devitt Studios)
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From Church of the Visitation, Cloneen

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From Church of the Visitation, Cloneen

 
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From St Mary’s Church, Killenaule

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From St Mary’s Church, Killenaule
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Detail of window of Our Lady of Fatima, Augustinian Abbey, Fethard
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From Church of the Holy Trinity, Fethard
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From Church of St John the Baptist, Powerstown
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From Church of St John the Baptist, Kilcash

 

Harry Clarke: The Master of Stained Glass — A R T L▼R K post

Harry Clarke: The Master of Stained Glass — A  R  T  L▼R K post

Given how much I have been featuring Harry Clarke work (see also here and here and Harry Clarke Studio alumni here) I thought it might be nice to share this post from the Ark Lark blog on Clarke himself….

On the 17th of March 1889, Harry Clarke, an Irish stained glass artist and book illustrator, was born in Dublin, Ireland. The second son of Joshua Clarke and Brigid McGonigle, he was remarkable already as a child for his extraordinary individuality and intelligence. After attending several schools, including the Model Schools in Marlborough Street, he […]

via Harry Clarke: The Master of Stained Glass — A R T L▼R K