Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Young Love

I was in St.  Louis in March and ended up at a park one warm, and sunny, Sunday morning.   I did a few photos of various things that may come in handy later.  But, I took a few that I thought would be fun for the blog.

Meet Daniel and his girl friend.

Before anyone asks...YES, I did ask them BEFORE taking the photo!  I noticed them sitting quietly on a park bench.  They were very involved in the conversation. 

I apologized for the interruption.  Told them about the blog and asked whether I could take a photo of them together from behind!   I took two images.  The first was a bit over exposed and washed out with the woman's white shirt.   This was the better of the two.

I sent it to Daniel for them to share as they wished.  And, I emailed them when I knew the posting date.

Daniel, my sincere thanks for letting me interrupt the both of you.   I thinnk it is a wonderful image.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Standing in the Back

I try to find a place to sit where I can see most of the people around me.  I look for interesting subjects, people having fun, etc.

But this night, I was in a spot where I couldn't get a good view.  The place was packed.  After a while, I simply got up and walked to the back of the bar/restaurant to get a better view.

The woman below was sitting very near the front, right next to the band.  While I was standing in the back, she got up and also moved to the back of the room.

Since we were standing near one another, I introduced myself and the blog.  And, she graciously let me take her photograph.

Meet Michelle!

She is a vet and LOVES small animals. 

Thanks Michelle!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pad Thai and Runners

As I have said before, now and then, I head to a local restaurant where my guitar teacher is playing with a band.  I have done photos of patrons there before.

And, it is time again!

Meet Brooke:  She came for the Pad Thai (as I have, as well!). 

And, meet Beth:

The are both runners!    When I asked what I could say about them, they replied, "we are twins". 

They were also delightful and charming. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Winery in Malibu

After the Getty Villa, I stopped at a winery just off the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.  The gentleman below was at a table with three other people.  They were having a great time chatting and laughing.  And, he was wearing a long sleeved t-shirt that had the print of a tuxedo on it.

Clearly this guy knows how to dress!   I loved the look and how much fun everyone was having.  So, I had to ask for the photo!

Meet George!

And, meet Christy!

I am not certain whether I got that they were married or just dating, etc.  But, they were certainly enjoying the day with their friends.    Christy was one of the people who helped break the Erin Brokovich story!  She now is the public relations/media director for a company in California.

My sincere thanks to you both!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Getty Villa: Floor Mosaic with Medusa (115-150 A.D.)

Well, this is something like a portrait.  So, this qualifies to be in my blog.   It is my blog, after all.
First, this was hanging on a wall.  And second, it was huge; perhaps 8' in diameter.

I found the tile work amazing. 

This is a much more feminine Medusa with wild hair, rather than snakes.  And, the circular pattern was useful for putting this type of image on shields to frighten an apponent.

All in all, the surrounding tile work was an amazing geometric pattern.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Getty Villa: Back to Portraits!

This display was in a smaller room.  I am not certain why I liked it so much.  Perhaps it was the chance to see so many busts and surviving fragments at one time. 

But, this was the piece that caught my eye. 

Rather than a solid block of marble, this was very thin.  Almost a mask.  I was actually amazed it survived to be found without being shattered. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Getty Villa: Wrestlers. No, NOT Jesse the Body!

Apparently, mosaics often adorned the walls and ceilings of various buildings.  This depicts athletes in training and was, if memory servers me correctly, probably from a gymnasium or arena.  I actually have NO idea what the bull is doing there.  

Here is a close up of the right foot.   It is actually very impressive!

As I have been looking at mosaics over the last few posts, I remembered I actually created one once as part of an elementary school art project.  Of course, that was 100 years ago.

No one could see what it obviously was.   Crushed, I turned my life away from art forever.  Dog's playing poker is a HARD thing to do in a mosaic!  Now Elvis, ANYONE can do that!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Getty Villa: Venus Exposed!

This piece is the Venus Genetrix from 100-44 B.C.

According to the Getty placard, Venus was the focal point of a temple in Rome to Venus Genetrix (Venus the Mother).  It was believed that Venus was an ancestor of Ceasar's family through Areneas, the ledendary founder of Rome.  Ceasar did have a great marketing department!

If I could only get my boss to believe I had godly lineage, it would make my job a LOT easier.

And, I do have to say that is a pretty hot dress she's wearing. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Getty Villa: Zeus

It is hard to miss Zeus.  This piece was done it Italy between A.D. 1-100.   As king of the Olympian gods, Zeus is often shown with a full beard and seated.    The Getty placard states that he originally had a scepter in his left hand and a thunderbolt in his right. 

It is patterned after a huge sculpture by Pheidias made of gold and ivory (490-430 B.C.)  for the god's temple at Olympia.  That particular sculpture was once considered one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.   This was found in the late 1700's.

The piece below is also of Zeus.  It was, however, found partially buried in the sand at the bottom of the Mediterranean.  Those parts that were buried in the sand survived reasonably well.  Those exposed to the sea water, had various mollusks attached. 

You don't want to go through eternity with mollusks attached.  In fact, I don't think I want them attached at any point in my life.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Getty Villa: Venus

No respectible collection of antiquities would be complete without a statue of Venus.  Actually, Aphrodite (Greek) and Venus (Romans) were the goddess of love. 

This piece is from 175-200 A.D.  It is modeled after the first full nude statue of Aphrodite by the Greek Sculptor Praxiteles around 350 B.C.   

This full scale female nude was placed in a specially contructed temple that allowed it to be viewed from all sides.  Pliny the Elder wrote, in his Natural History, that the statue had a powerful effect on viewers.  There is a story that a man was overcome with love for the statue and hid inside the temple at night to embrace it. 

Yeh...that will get you arrested.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Getty Villa: Hygieia/Aphrodite

Below is a piece from 200-250 AD depicting Hygieia, the daughter of Asklepios, the god of medicine.  Think...Hygiene..and Hygieia.  See how nicely that works!!

She is often portrayed feeding a coiled snake (around her left arm).   If you recall, the coiled snake is still a symbol for modern medicine. 

She was often merged with other deities, such as Aphrodite (the goddess of love).  That could be the case with this piece because the slumbering little figure at her feet is Eros.  And, a slumbering Eros is something to keep an eye on!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Getty Villa: A Satyr Pouring Wine

From AD 1-100.  This piece shows a satyr pouring wine.  Missing, of course, is the pitcher in his right hand and the cup that was in his left.
This piece is actually modelled after a famous piece by Praxiteles (375-340 BC). 

Satyr's were part human and part horse or goat.  And, they were typically companions of Dionysos (the Greek God of Wine....note..that is WINE...not WHINE...political commentary should not be implied in that comment).

This sculpture was one of four identical figures that decorated the villa of Domitian (AD 81-96).    This particular piece was missing its head when it was discovered in 1657.  Another head was copied from one of the other statues.  And, it was restored in the later 17th century.

I do recall being at a few parties where the wine flowed and I think I saw horses and goats.......and maybe a pink elephant or two.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Getty Villa: Hercules

One of the greatest of Greek heroes is Herackles.  Even the Romans adopted him as one of their own.  This statue, from 100-200 AD, shows Herackles in traditional form.   He carries the skins of a Nemean lion and the club (what is paritally seen from what is his right arm).   The wreath around his head declares him an athletic victor.

Statues like this were common around the Life Time Fitness centers of the day where athletes trained for the Olympic games.

Below is another statue, called the Lansdowne Herackles.
This piece, created around 125 AD, was discovered in 1790 near the villa of the Roman emperor Hadrian.  It was purchased in 1792 by an English collector, the Marquess of Landsowne.   Once again you can see the trademark lion skin and club.  
It is just like me in jeans and hat, except he has hair, and I have 129 extra pounds.  And, of course, I don't carry around a lion skin and club much anymore, either.
This is one of the Getty's most prized pieces.   It was amazing.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Getty Villa: Achilles, Thetis and Worshippers. The Hangers On.

Below is a relief from about 350 BC in the Thessaly region of Greece.

Very much like today, we tend to worship legendary heroes.   A cult devoted to Achilles grew in the Thessaly region (where Achilles is said to have been born) of Greece. It is sort of like going to see Lincolns log cabin, I guess. 

This shows members of a religious group called the Achilleides, who claimed to be descenants of Achilles.  Sure, everyone wants to be associated with the hero's and gods.   You do realize, about half of the US is related to European nobility, don't you? 

It is most amazing to me that we haven't changed that much over 2500 years.

Above is a sarcophagus with a scene from the life of Achilles.  In this scene, Achilles dons his armor with the help of Odysseus.  Achilles is just mounting his chariot, (a chariot is just slightly better than an AMC Gremlin) and preparing to drag Hector's body around the city of Troy. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Getty Villa: The Removal of Briseis

Below is a fragment of a mosaic referencing a scene in Homer's the Iliad.  A larger image can be seen here

Achilles is about to lose possession of the concubine Briseis to Agamemnon. This is just the antiquities version of Days of Our Lives.

Briseis was married to Mynes.  During the Trojan war, Archilles stormed the city of Lyrnessus (where Briseis and her husband lived) and killed Mynes.  Briseis was taken as a prisoner and became a concubine.  If you didn't know, a concubine was a socially accepted position for a "lesser wife".  One could be married and still have one or more concubines, as long as the relationship was stable.  I am trying to think through whether this is a good thing or not.  I see some potential dangers with this.

Well, Agamemnon (who names their kid Agamemnon, he's going to get his ass kicked in school, ya know), demanded Briseis from Achilles because he had been forced to give up his own female captive, Chryseis.  I don't know why Agamemnon didn't just go find another female captive.   I am sure there were plenty to be found at the local health club and juice bar.

It turns out that Agamomnon survived the Trojan war and returned to Troy, just to be murdered by the lover of his wife Clytemnestra. 

See why this sounds like Days of Our Lives!!

ANYWAY, I found the mosaic work to be fascinating.   This is from 100-200 AD. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tile Tile and More Tile

I found the floor tiles interesting.   This was internal between galleries.

The image below is outside in a courtyard.  It reminded me of when our esteemed Governor at the time, Jesse the Body, went on the Tonight Show and said the streets of St. Paul were designed by drunk Irishmen. 
Still, I LIKE this design!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

And Now for a Little Perspective

I do like perspectives.  A person's eye automatically adjusts for distance, focus, lighting, and depth of field.  At least, it does so most of the time reasonably well. 

Camera's don't do this quite as well.

Of course, you can leave the camera on the automatic settings.  That helps.  Or, you can tinker with all the doo-dads and dials and secret stuff where you need to actually read the manual.

I rather like the second approach.

So, here are a few perspectives.

I really like the photo above.  But, the  guard rails sort of get in the way.  And, if you look closely, you can see where I cut out most of the baby carriage against the wall in the back.  You can see the front wheels.  Still, the pillars are pretty cool.

Try getting a photo like this when the place is crowded.  I had to hurry and managed to get a couple of shots.  This was the better of two. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Getty Villa: Fountains

All three images are of the same fountain in one of the courtyards.  Below is the view as you walk from the museum into the courtyard.

Here is a closeup of the mosaic in the center.

Finally, off to each side, was a larger mask of a male character.  I assume water flowed through the mouth as well.  But, it wasn't doing that when I was there.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Getty Villa: Guests

The couple below asked me to take their photograph.  So, I did!   And, I gave them my card so that they could email me and I would send them a photograph.

I never got an email from them.  And, I am not at all certain of their names!  But, they were most delightful and willing to pose.  So, if they find this blog, here is their photo!

My sincere thanks.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Getty Villa: Antiquities Continued with Paintings

Besides the statuary, I was very impressed with the paintings.  Certainly not as colorful as the Renaissance. But, still amazing in detail and reflecting the world of its day.   

Here is a small wall or ceiling fragment showing Bacchus and his consort Ariadne. 

Apparently Ariadne has been left on an island, deserted by her lover Theseus.   Bacchus, a Greek God, discovers her alone on the island, grieving at being abandoned, and the party begins.  OK...I could have made it a bit more scholarly than that.  But, you get the idea.

Here is a close up:

Yeh, I can't really see a problem with wandering around a deserted island and stumbling upon an abandoned lover and you are a God with a lot of wine.   I believe I had a dream or two like that when I was in my teens. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Getty Villa: The Art: 1

The Getty Villa is an amazing place.   Its roots started in 1954 when Getty opened a small museum next to his home in the Pacific Pallisades.  He quickly ran out of room, as he began collecting antiquities from 6,500 B.C. to 400 A.D.   The museum currently has over 44,000 Greek and Roman items.

I am compelled to share a few.

There were several statues made of this material.  I found the detail amazing (look at the braided hair) and the move to create eyes rather than a hollow cut out was revolutionary.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Getty Villa: Antiquities

I am going on an art tangent for a while!

Meet: The Lion Attacking the  Horse

When you walk into the Getty Villa,  this is the centerpiece.   It is massive!  There is some evidence that this piece adorned a monument in northern Greece.  The theme of the stronger devouring the weaker depicted as animals was common in ancient Greece.  This piece is believed to be from the Alexander the Great reign from 359-323 B.C.  

You can see in the bottom of the photograph above that the horses legs and his head (harder to see) as well as the lion's tail were restored in a different and more smooth marble during the Renaissance (around 1594 A.D.)

I don't think I would even attempt something like this with duct tape and popcycle sticks.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Artist: Jean-Jacques Caffieri

Below is a portrait bust of M. de Neuville, the Captain of Artillery and Comptroller General c. 1780.
Throughout his life, he also served as the fermier genereral.  This enabled him to collect taxes before the French Revolution. 

I generally find artists amazing.  I have no real talent myself.  Just ask those who  know me!  But, anyone that can take a piece of stone and create this is impressive.   I might be able to make a cube, if it didn't need to be precise.

Unfortunately, I do not believe anyone is going to immortalize me in marble.  They will probably just put me in concrete.  Maybe I will be neighbors with Jimmy Hoffa.

My thanks to the MIA and Oleg for suggesting we meet there!  I haven't been there in ages.

Claude Monet

While visiting with Oleg at the MIA, I stumbled upon this.

Claude Monet's The Japanese Bridge c. 1923-1925. 

The color doesn't do it justice. I have been to the Louve and seen the Mona Lisa.  And, I have seen several Rembrant's in London.  But, I have never had the chance to see a Monet.

I was amazed at the brush strokes and the layering.  

He stated once that his water landscapes in general reveal the "instability of a universe transforming itself every moment before our eyes."

Indeed, nothing lasts forever.   Nothing stays the same for long.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Oleg Behind the Camera

I had the chance to meet my friend Oleg about a month ago when he visited Minneapolis.  This was the usual perspective!

It was wonderful seeing you, Oleg!  Thanks for taking the time to visit and the photography pointers!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Wearing a Tie

OK.  Maybe I will quit whining when I need to wear a tie.

On the other hand, wearing one that is fun, makes it a bit more tolerable.

Thanks to Thor and Marvel Comics! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Staycation

As I was wandering around a local art museum, I noticed the woman below.

Meet Ann!

She was by herself but was totally emersed in her moment.  She stared at the pieces intently.

When she was between rooms, I interrupted her and asked to take her photo.  I actually took three different photos.  This is unusual.  I try to minimize the time I intrude on someone's life.  But, with the natural lighting and her glasses, I was getting shadows I didn't like.

This was the best of the three.  I had her tip her head back a bit, rather than forward.  And, that illuminated most of left side of her face.

I like the image a lot. 

She was taking a vacation..and staying in town.  Since she has a passion for art, this was a natural place to escape.

Thanks Ann!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bud Grant

Meet Bud!

As I was wrapping up the Home and Garden show, I realized that Bud Grant was doing a promotional appearance for one of the vendors.  I stood in line for a few minutes to get this photo.

If you don't know, Bud was the coach of the Minnesota Vikings for a number of years when I was a kid and in college.  When he ws there, they didn't play in billion dollar indoor stadiums.  They were outside, in the cold, wind, rain, snow, and mud.  He expected his players to be professional.  And, they were.  He had high standards for the team.  And, we respected that.  It was who we were.

Just before it was my turn, Bud looked up and noticed his daughter and grandson were there.  So, he paused the line (actually me!) and took time to lift his grandson up on the podium and chat with him a bit.  As a grandfather myself, that was MORE than fine.  It was...as it should be.

I was able to help left the little guy off the podium and gently put him on the floor.  Then, I got the photo.  Bud asked if I wanted an autograph.  But, I didn't.  I just enjoyed the moment for what it was...and got this.

Thanks Bud!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Escaping Nashville

Meet Emma:

She was at a local Home and Garden Show in Minneapolis.   I thought she had a wonderful smile so I asked whether I could take her photograph.  And, she graciously permitted me to do so.

She spend part of her life in Nashville as a professional singer!   But, she left the glamor of the stage to be with her husband and kids.

Thanks Emma!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Escaping the Winter

It has been a LONG winter with a LOT of work.  I need a vaction.

Maybe dream about golf. 

On a tropical island.

Be safe all.  Winter is nearly over.  I promise.  The world will soon waken from its icy slumber and life will return.