Archive for October, 2010

Kubin’s "The Other Side"
The Novel written in metaphorical and symbolic language is a sort of autobiographic novel. The narrator, Kubin himself decides, along with his wife to move to “Pearl”, the capital of a built in Central Asia, dream realm, pull, whose daily life of Ancient (old buildings, mills, homes, disreputable bars, towers, cafes), a Kafkaesque bureaucratic hierarchy and emotional discord (hysteria, anxiety, disorientation, chaos and obsessions) is controlled, and in which there is neither technical nor cultural progress. The inhabitants of the city, shrouded by dense fog, are sensitive dreamer, subject only to the logic of the dream world. Patera, the ruler of the dream realm is left to decay, so the chaos is increasing.

Kubin’s novel exerted a decisive influence on writers like Franz Kafka, Gustav Meyrink and Ernst Jünger.
It is probably also in the sense Kubin, if we interpret the novel as so many of his prints as a symbol of the fatalistic view of things, but even he calls himself a fatalist.
In the novel "The Other Side" and also in the drawings noted Ernst Jünger a peculiarity of the composition, which he calls "unrelated simultaneity," a blunt isolation of the individuals who are in the world such as in a number of prison cells next to each other act similarity to Georg Trakl.

Alfred Kubin - die Andere SeiteAlfred Kubin - die Andere SeiteAlfred Kubin - die Andere SeiteAlfred Kubin - die Andere SeiteAlfred Kubin - die Andere Seite

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SARTORIO Giulio Aristide, Sybil. Dramatic poem in four acts
Milan, L’Eroica, 1922. In the 4th largest, 219 – [11] p., I fb, 219 etchings on zinc (including 70 full page). Binding editorial cartoon, with illustrations on the front plate.1018 and number of the signature of Ettore Cozzani and Giulio Aristide Sartorio.

One of the masterpieces of Italian graphic design of the twentieth century. This magnificent edition, published in only 1333 numbered copies signed by the artist and publisher Ettore Cozzani and fully engraved on zinc, is the most important contribution to the art of book Sartorio. The beautiful illustrations, typefaces and decorative friezes were designed and implemented in a period of time of over ten years: Sartorio began to prepare the sheets of zinc in 1912. .Partially published in the journal L’Eroica (in the years 1913-14) where Cozzani explains the technique used by the artist to run the plates, engraved on wood instead of zinc, but with the system of engraving in relief with effect woodcut by applying acid in the parts where you did not want to deposit the ink (E. Bardy, searches of the ‘Black’, p. 133). After the impression all the printing material was destroyed. Giulio Aristide Sartorio – painter, sculptor, writer, illustrator and photographer – (Rome, 1860-1930) spent considerable time in Weimar, Paris and London, was attracted by the Pre-Raphaelites, he joined the group "In Arte Libertas’ and was among the founders of Twenty-five of the "Roman Countryside". Aristide Sartorio is also famous because it has performed extensive pictorial frieze in the Chamber of Deputies building and dedicated to the history of Italian civilization.

Aristide Sartorio -SibillaAristide Sartorio -SibillaAristide Sartorio -Sibilla

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The musical Arabesque or rather the principle of ornament is at the basis of all forms of art.

Claude Debussy

"To whichever of the applied arts any given building may belong, in creating it one has to pay particular attention to ensuring that it and its exterior aspect conform in every respect to its designated purpose and its natural form.  Nothing is legitimate that does not form an organism, or a link between the various organisms.  No ornament can be permitted that is not organically absorbed."
Was ich will, 1901

"I wish to replace the old symbolic elements, which have lost their effectiveness for us today, with a new, imperishable beauty… in which ornament has no life of its own but depends on the forms and lines of the object itself, from which it receives its proper organic place."’
Was ich will, 1901

"I see ornament in architecture as having a dual function. On the one hand it offers support to the construction and draws attention to the means it employs; on the other… it brings life into a uniformly illuminated space by the interplay of light and shade."
Kunstgewerbliche Laienpredigten, 1902

Henry van de Velde

The combining impressions on Art Nouveau concepts may have inspired Debussy to base his Arabesque composition from the designs found in, for example, Arabic art.  The movements and curved lines of the motives dissolve into purposeless lines, into ornaments (arabesques). This two-dimensional, ornamental means of portrayal has its counterpart in Asiatic art. 

The repetitive patterns in the picture is synonymous to the repetitive musical idea presented in the first few measures which is present throughout the piece.  I used an arabesque pattern in a pottery picture, quadruplicated it, and fit those four together by inverting and rotating the images so that they form one whole piece.

The different line designs indicate the different parts of the piece.  The flowing musical lines are like the curvy decorative designs.  The freedom of form (not to he mistaken for its dissolution) does not indicate a rhapsodic gliding-over from one bar to another or a loose improvisation on a couple of sounds or scraps of melody. To the contrary, everything is most carefully composed; every detail is minutely indicated. Like the intricacies of the arabesque designs in visual art, melodic form can still be seen or heard.

As reported by Maria Francesca Cuccu in her essay “La "musica sognata" di Claude Debussy”, innovative and essential element in the music of Debussy is the Arabesque, subtle combination of floral and geometric elements, which the composer himself called "divine." The flexible whip line of Arabesque also beloved by Baudelaire evoke the most spiritual design and the most ideal: it is "a figure that does not develop in a supreme way using the technique of narrative or representation, but stands out in the manner of the fresco ornamentation on a surface in motion, without describing, without concluding epilogue, in a happy ending, but assuming a purely instantaneous ".

Claude Debussy – Arabesque Number 1

Floral ornaments in Art Nouveau

Jankélévitch compares certain melodic motifs of Debussy with a botanical phenomenon, the geotropism, ie the influence of gravity orientation on leaves and roots. Then, we can talk of positive and negative geotropism, the one used to indicate attraction to a center of gravity, the other indicates the tend of the stems to grow away from the center of the earth. (The student applies the confrontation with this phenomenon is also the symbolic meaning of plants and floral motifs of Art Nouveau and the relationship with the flowing lines of women’s hair.)


Femmes avec les cheveux de Lins, in Art Nouveau vignettes

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Claude Debussy – La fille aux cheveux de lin

Femmes avec les cheveux de Lins, in Art Nouveau vignettes

Debussy’s arabesques would follow the phenomenon: rising, creating a sense of rootlessness given by the superposition of perfect chords, each on a different key, which does not give continuity and a musical discourse of reason but merely to exist in space. In descent, Debussy arabesque symbolizes a feeling of fear and flight, drop or droop, especially sensual "vers cette inclinaison pudique vers le bas est une des marques les plus caractéristiques de la phrase debussyste" (11). Debussy believed in the magic power of Arabesque, symbol full of mystery and sensuality. The evidence for this oriental charm was the same that had aroused in him when he was able to hear the music of Bali and Java Indonesia. In these islands was practiced harmony set up two separate scales: <pelog> and <slendro>, both pentatonic, but the first (called female) has a major third, while the second (called the male) a minor third.


(b Paris, 23 March 1857; d Paris, 11 Aug 1939). French painter. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and in the studios of Henri Lehmann, Fernand Cormon and Léon Bonnat. His Salon entry in 1880, Portrait of M. O. (untraced), reflected his early attraction to the realist tradition of Spanish 17th-century painting. The impact of Impressionism encouraged him to lighten his palette and paint landscapes en plein air, such as In the Fields of Eragny (1888; Paris, Y. Osbert priv. col.). By the end of the 1880s he had cultivated the friendship of several Symbolist poets and the painter Puvis de Chavannes, which caused him to forsake his naturalistic approach and to adopt the aesthetic idealism of poetic painting. Abandoning subjects drawn from daily life, Osbert aimed to convey inner visions and developed a set of pictorial symbols. Inspired by Puvis, he simplified landscape forms, which served as backgrounds for static, isolated figures dissolved in mysterious light. A pointillist technique, borrowed from Seurat, a friend from Lehmann’s studio, dematerialized forms and added luminosity. However, Osbert eschewed the Divisionists’ full range of hues in his choice of blues, violets, yellows and silvery green. Osbert’s mysticism is seen in his large painting Vision (1892; Paris, Mus. d’Orsay). The Rosicrucian ideal of ‘art as the evocation of mystery, like prayer’ finds no better expression than the virginal figure of Faith—often interpreted as either St Geneviève or St Joan—set in a meadow with a lamb and enmeshed in an unearthly radiance. Such works were praised by Symbolist writers who considered them visual counterparts of the poetry of Paul Verlaine, Stéphane Mallarmé and Maurice Maeterlinck. Osbert was called a ‘painter of evenings’, an ‘artist of the soul’ and a ‘poet of silence’ for his evocation of a mood of mystery and reverie. (Source: The Grove Dictionary of Art)


Vision, 1892

This painting was presented at the Salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1892 before featuring the following year in the second Rose+Croix Salon which brought together the elite of the Symbolist artists. A later presentation of the work, in 1899, provides more information about its subject: a vision of St Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris.
Like many of Osbert’s paintings, this mystical, meditative painting uses a range of blues with no attempt at realism and no desire to illustrate the saint’s role in defending Paris against the Hun invasion in the mid-fifth century. Distinct in that respect from traditional history or religious paintings, this work, which drew much comment from journalists and art lovers who saw it on display, was considered to be more an illustration of a soul state. Since then, links have been established with neurological research, particularly that of Jean-Martin Charcot. It may be that the ecstatic state of the model, her rigid pose and fixed upward gaze were inspired by research into hysteria which was being carried out at the Salpétrière Hospital at the time. Reports on this research, illustrated by photographs, were widely circulated by the contemporary press.