Best Posts of 2016

3 Jan

A new year of blogging is upon us, but before I start with new posts, I’d like to take a moment of appreciation for my posts from 2016. I’ve chosen 12 posts (I simply couldn’t settle on just ten) which are my personal favourites. I’ve also put the introductions of my posts just to make you specially intrigued to read them. Ha ha. So, if you still haven’t read them, feel free to do so now! I wish you all a happy and creative year. Last year I wished you a psychedelic year and I wanted one for myself. Now I just crave serenity, but where to find it?

***

Ode to British Psychedelia or ‘What it means to me’

“Last few days I’ve been rereading the book called Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd: Dark Globe by Julian Palacios, and relishing in its every page. It explores Syd’s life from the early days in Cambridge, to his Swinging London days at the height of his fame as a psychedelic rock star, all the way to his last days spent in seclusion. Each page reveals Syd’s influences in terms of books, artworks (as he was a painter too), films, music and his ideas in general. Even though he is best known for his days with Pink Floyd which resulted in the album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967): a beautiful psychedelic gem, and his subsequent solo albums, it is not his fame or heyday which interests me the most.”

1960s-swinging-london-7***

Mademoiselle de Lancey by Carolus-Duran

“What is this high society beauty, this femme fatale from the glorious days of French Second Empire, thinking about? Reclined on the sofa, surrounded by ‘deep cushions redolent of perfume’, supporting herself with one hand and holding a fan in the other. Her white dress with silver embellishments is exquisite, surely the latest fashion, sumptuous silk or satin. Quite a daring cut of the bodice, revealing both her shoulders and decolletage. Notice how her skirt is elegantly lifted with the intention to expose her lovely ankles and tiny feet in white shoes. Her gown reveals much and at the same time exudes simplicity and elegance. Her crossed legs and the position of her hands indicate dominance both in her chamber, and on the canvas.”

1876. Mademoiselle de Lancey - Charles Auguste Émile Durand***

Marc Chagall – The Paris Years (1910-1914)

“It’s 1910 and Marc Chagall has just arrived in Paris. After a four day journey by railway from Saint Petersburg, he settled in the first available atelier. Paris was the Mecca for young artists; dominant art form at the time was Cubism, all sorts of avant-garde movement, both in painting and poetry, were emerging and art circles of Paris had just began migrating from Montmartre to a chic area called Montparnasse which would remain a home to many artists in the years that followed.”

1913. Marc Chagall - Paris Through the Window ...***

Egon Schiele’s Nudes and Manic Street Preachers

“Egon Schiele is known as the painter of anxiety, sexuality and death – a combination of which makes his paintings provocative, twisted, slightly morbid and trashy. Schiele was too radical for his contemporaries but later on he proved to be an inspiration for pop icons and rock stars from David Bowie to Manic Street Preachers.”

1917. Kneeling Girl, Resting on Both Elbows by Egon Schiele***

Egon Schiele – Melancholic Sunflowers

“Egon Schiele was just one of many painters who gave identity to sunflowers; he painted them laden with a heavy burden of melancholy and alienation. Gazing at Schiele’s sunflowers, for me, raises an awareness of the haunting fragility of life. I hope you’re intrigued by the oxymoron in the title.”

1911. Sunflowers, by Egon Schiele***

Vincent van Gogh – Almond Blossoms or ‘Fragile Beauty’

“A few days ago I nicked a branch of an apple tree from someone’s garden. It looked lovely in my vase, but the whiteness and delicacy of the blossoms didn’t last very long, and my ‘stolen good’ quickly withered. First sight of this apple blossoms reminded me of Vincent van Gogh’s painting ‘Almond Blossom’.”

1890. Branches with Almond Blossom by Vincent van Gogh***

Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Beata Beatrix – Love Will Tear Us Apart

“Rossetti’s painting Beata Beatrix, laden with symbolism and imbued with spirituality, can be viewed in two ways: as the ultimate expression of Rossetti’s passionate love for Lizzie, a love that transcends even death, and, as a synthesis of Rossetti’s life-long fascination with Italian poet of the Late Middle Ages – Dante Alighieri.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Beata Beatrix, ca 1864-70.***

John Everett Millais – Mariana and Autumn Yearning

“Dusky, velvety colours, intricate detailing and that peculiar mood of yearning and melancholy that pervades paintings from Millais’ early phase, make Mariana a true Pre-Raphaelite gem, comparable by beauty and emotional intensity only to the more famous Ophelia painted around the same time.”

1851. John Everett Millais, Mariana, 1851 smaller***

Fashion Icons: Marianne Faithfull

“Marianne Faithfull is one of my favourite fashion icons from this series. Her sixties-psychedelia-rock ‘n’ roll look was the first one I tried to emulate when I first got interested in the 1960s fashion and culture. So, a typical Marianne look would include a suede skirt, shirt, thin scarf and boots, or a floral print mini dress with boots. As you’ll see from my collages, she wore lots of different looks, from sequin dresses for her performances, to bell bottom trousers, nun-style black dresses with white collars, paisley shirts, dresses with bishop sleeves etc.”

fashion-icons-marianne-4-text***

Caspar David Friedrich – Greifswald Harbour: Set sail in those turquoise days

“It’s that time of the year again, when sweet Autumn rains and whimsical winds bring thoughts of Romanticism and Echo and the Bunnymen to my mind. Gloomy, post-punk and a bit psychedelic melodies of Echo and the Bunnymen’s album Heaven Up Here (1981) resonate perfectly with moods of Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings.”

1818-20. Greifswald Harbour - Caspar David Friedrich***

Pre-Romanticism: Ruined Abbeys, Erotic Dreams and Strange Visions

“In this post we’ll explore Pre-Romanticism through its main themes and occupations; ruined abbeys, erotic dreams and strange visions. There’s a strong Gothic vibe in early Romanticism; dreams, visions, vampires and hallucinations, and artists sought inspiration in myths and ballades of the past, Celtic and Germanic fairy tales, and everything that evoked the spirit of the Middle Ages. Compared to the flashy second generation of Romanticism, art of Pre-Romanticism is shrouded in thousands of veils, in it an insurmountable mountain, a misty lake in a desolate countryside, it’s a dream of Albion. Pre-Romanticism is a gentle plant that grew from the imagination of the people of the North; from their gloom soothed by the roaring of the sea and their melancholy which enabled them to look within and to transcend the darkness of their surroundings.”

1790-91-henry-fuseli-the-nightmare***

John A. Grimshaw – Dreary Victorian Streets

“John Atkinson Grimshaw is the painter of the industrialised late Victorian Britain who captured the beauty of wet pavements, rainy cobble streets, gas lamps, hustle of carriages, grey facades and docs under moonlight. His romanticised portrayals of urban cities still possess a slight dose of dreariness, a mood of a cold and gloomy night of November when everything is damp, wet and mist descends.”

1881. Shipping on the Clyde, by John Atkinson Grimshaw,***

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