Paris Street; Rainy Day

So this painting was completed in 1877, 59 years after the last Austen novels were published. It has nothing to do with them or Regency times. And the capper, it is set in Paris!

What’s that have to do with anything?

So even though it has nothing to do with any of that, I felt like sharing it because whenever I look at it it always makes me think of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, even though they didn’t have any boulevards and probably wouldn’t sped their weekend strolling along that way but would be in a carriage or be walking in the roads/lanes outside.

It also makes me think of Anne and when she and Captain Wentworth walk together.

This painting was done by Gustave Caillebotte. It is an Impressionist painting, a scene of modern everyday life. It’s not as fluid or fast stroked as the others, being more “realistic” in the brushstrokes.

In the painting we see the modern day of the city, the new boulevards, buildings, paved cobblestones, etc.

Most people would go on these new boulevards for walks, to relax, see and be seen by society-rich and middle class alike.

So what do you all think? Can you see it too, or do you think I’m just stretching things and including a picture I love?

For more art, go to He Was Taken Up Before Their Very Eyes

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Desire & Decorum: Chapter 9, An Indelicate Proposal

So in the last episode I went to the Opera where the stupid Duke assaulted me all night.

And I went off with Mr. Sinclaire, to get away from the Duke, and had a nice moment with him.

So first things first, I hate the title for this chapter because all I can think of is:

An that title has nothing to with this chapter-I don’t even get proposed to. Seriously people.

Anyways, so grandma has arrived to give me a dressing down for my behavior, but I’ve been good except last night when I was with Mr. Sinclaire. And that was mostly because I knew the Duke would assault me if I road with him.

It’s not fair!

Grandma reads me the riot act:

Miss Sutton! Not only is she saying that but that the Earl is not my father and that I am seducing men.

Forget you!

I”M SO ANGRY, but I know it’s not Miss Sutton:

My grandmother agrees with me, but it doesn’t matter the truth. My reputation is on the line ad I need to restore it before it is too late. After all a reputation is all a woman has.

So Grandma is going to have Mr. Marcastle host a card game. This will give me a chance to win people over with the home court advantage.

The next morning, Grandma sets out to settle the rumors surrounding me. But before she sets out to do that, she wants to know who I am interested in. We talk about it:

Grandma is still pushing the Duke, but as I try and share what Mr. Sinclaire shared with me about him, but before I get a chance to we are interrupted by Miss Parsons.

Excuse me!

Grandmother urges Miss Parsons and I to paint. This is something that Catherine has no training in and I think it is one of those in my “quest” to achieve.

It looks like a palette is there in front of the fireplace.

Miss Parsons invites me to accompany her to the greenhouse so she can paint me. Then I can send off miniatures to my father, friends, and maybe…Mr. Sinclaire?

Trying to flirt

So in this game there are quite a bit of things that are not correct for Regency history and culture, and I have forgiven them for this-but looking at the Greenhouse, I noticed it had a lot of glass and was more open. To me that doesn’t seem quite right, as I know the Crystal Place wasn’t constructed until 1854 (thank you Art History). So I did some research, and like I thought because the technology wasn’t invented yet, most greenhouses were regular buildings with just a lot more windows.

But I guess that isn’t a huge issue. Still though, it wouldn’t take you guys too much at Choices to google it. I mean there are tons of books, blogs, and more on it.

Research

Anyways…we try to paint.

This reminds me of the scene in Emma when Emma paints Harriet.

“Miss Woodhouse has given her friend the only beauty she wanted,’—observed Mrs. Weston to him—not in the least suspecting that she was addressing a lover.—’The expression of the eye is most correct, but Miss Smith has not those eye-brows and eye-lashes. It is the fault of her face that she has them not.’ ‘Do you think so?’ replied he [Mr. Elton]. ‘I cannot agree with you. It appears to me a most perfect resemblance in every feature. I never saw such a likeness in my life. We must allow for the effect of shade, you know.’ ‘You have made her too tall, Emma,’ said Mr. Knightley. Emma knew that she had, but would not own it…”

But while that is fun, something is bothering my friend Miss Parsons. I ask her about it and she wants to discuss it outside the greenhouse, so we walk outside.

Her family is eager to marry her off, as her fiancé died (my half brother who passed away before the game starts) and they want her to marry an old geezer who can’t hear and is on wife number 5. Looks like he’s giving Henry the VIII a run for his money.

I’m shocked, but that’s how it was then. It’s funny but this exchange reminds me of the book Prada and Prejudice, a teen YA retelling I read back when I was 17. In the story the girl buys these prada heels at a thrift store and trips, waking up in 1812! They all think she is the long lost friend recently returned from America. She then tries to help Emily (the girl who thinks she is her long-lost friend) from marrying an old man.

Well, now that I have brought it up, I’ll need to review the book. Watch out for it!

Looking forward to it!

Anyways…

What was I talking about?

Oh, yeah-tonight the geezer plans to propose at Mr. Marcastle’s card game. Just like in Prada & Prejudice, I decide that I will do all in my power to help stop it.

She kind of reminds me of Charlotte Lucas, how she feels at the end of her rope and her family is willing to have her go off with almost any guy.

Miss Parsons feels stuck, but I’m there for her and promise that of she gets thrown out of her home for refusing the Viscount, that I will open my home for her.

So after the painting, I head back to get ready for the card game. They offer a green dress, but I don’t really like it. Not to be mean, but I find it kind of ugly. So I wear the red one I bought for Mr. Sinclaire’s party.

Briar, my maid (and best friend from the country) and I talk and she tries to convince me that Mr. Marcastle is just the greatest thing ever. Nothing I say will convince her that this is a bad idea. He’s an engaged gentleman, and you are a servant, seriously Briar, he’s just messing with you.

So the card game I am playing Old Maid with Miss Holloway and my Grandma, but I don’t think that was something they played in regency times. So let’s do some more research…

So it was created in the late 1700s, but wasn’t popular until Victorian times. Still it fits in the timeline, so its good. However, I would prefer them playing Whist.

And of course this is a great metaphor as Miss Holloway and I are not only competing in the game but in real life as to who will end up “the Old Maid”.

Ooohh…she angry. Haha

Sucks to be you

So interestingly, even though Mr. Marcastle is engaged he is trying to get with Miss Holloway-oh no! That’s not how it was done! It was practically a contract-people would go to court and have to pay a fine over broken engagements. So he wouldn’t be doing that-especially with the question of his inheritance up for grabs.

I really don’t think you guys did any research.

Miss Parsons is just as shocked and all I can think is this dude needs to get his act together, three ladies? He’s just asking to be murdered.

You are just asking to be killed.

So I’m there mostly for my bestie, Miss Parsons:

Yep, don’t mess with me!

We take a turn about the room to escape from the Viscount.

Grandma notices the attentions that Mr. Marcastle is giving Miss Holloway and slams him.

So Miss Parsons and I go clue crew on why is Mr. Marcastle trying to flirt with Miss Holloway?

We conclude it must be my evil-stepmother, but why would she do that? It doesn’t make sense.

Huh?

Miss Holloway hears about my painting lesson and makes fun of the artwork, but she ends up making fun of my grandma’s ands gets a dressing down.

Miss Parsons is still ignoring the Viscount, and w step outside for a minute. I try to encourage her to not give in and marry him, as she won’t be happy.

When he follows us outside, Miss Parsons says she can’t spend any time with him as she promised me some painting lessons. Painting lessons in the middle of a party? Sounds weird, but whatever.

She teaches me how to paint and I create a masterpiece! An apple!

For those of you who have played the other Choices games, it’s the same one that Kira’s mom, Joelle, makes in The Royal Romance: Book 3. And she’s a famous artist, so that means mine is fantastic!

And I gained the painter’s easel and palette:

I’m not sure what is left as that looks like I’ve accomplished everything!

Despite our best efforts, the viscount proposes and Miss Parsons turns him down cold-in front of everyone. And as he has horrible hearing-all HEARD it.

Mr. Marcastle tries to propose to Miss Holloway, again-would NOT have been done. But she slams him with his behavior with Briar:

Ouch

But news comes that my father has been stricken ill. I want to return home, but grandma wishes me to stay. My dad should be okay…right?

I guess we will just have to wait and see…

For more Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 8, Ill Repute

For more Choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 7, Opera St. James

For more Bible verses, go to Book Club Picks: Julie

For more painting, go to Book Club Picks: The Masterpiece

With That, He Bowed His Head and Gave Up His Spirit

So last year I didn’t do this as I was too busy, but every year prior I have always reviewed different portrayals of Christ for Easter.

I am a Christian, and I received a major in art history and history, so it is time to put those to work.

Typically, I have reviewed more images, but Easter snuck up on me this year. So we only have two planned.

Gero Crucifix from Cologne Cathedral

Today is Good Friday, the day that Jesus was crucified, only to be resurrected three days later. The piece I choose today is from the early Medieval period. The Gero Crucifix was created in 970 and brought to Cologne Cathedral by Archbishop Gero, hence were the name comes from.

But before we get into the art, let’s look at the text:

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” John 19:1-7

Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareththe king of the Jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”John 19:19-22

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”–Luke 23: 39-43

“At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)…Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink.”–Mark 15: 33-36

“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”–John 19: 30

This is an important piece of art as it is the oldest surviving monumental sculpture of crucifixion to date. This is a gigantic piece, about 6 feet tall to make it seem more lifelike.

This is an incredibly emotional piece, the way it is created to really capture the text of the bible. In this we can see the great pain he went through: blood dripping down on his forehead, his body is leaning downwards in pain as he can no longer fight gravity pulling him down, his twisted body, the strain on his arms-all the pain and suffering he would have gone through.

He looks extremely vulnerable, no powerful halo or other imagery (although there was some gold pieces added later on). There was a crown of thorns to continue to add to the pain he went through, but it has gone missing through time.

What also makes this a powerful piece, besides size and the imagery, is that this is a reliquary-the head had a chamber where they would store the Eucachrist. Wow-think how powerful that would be, to take in communion and have the bread come from Christ’s body.

Well, I hope you all have a great Good Friday and Easter, however you all celebrate it.

For more Crucifixions, go to At Noon, Darkness Came Over the Whole Land…

For more artwork, go to He is Not Here; He Has Risen

But That the Scripture May Be Fulfilled

For those of you who are new to my blog, every year I do a countdown to Easter by going over different artworks that show Christ and his path to the cross and ultimately, resurrection Sunday. Today we are going to look at the scene of the last supper.

“It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.” John 13:1-2

“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’

19“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”

21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant.23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”

25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas,the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.” John 13:18-30

The painting I choose for tonight is The Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno.

My first introduction to this painting my art history professor used it to compare with Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper to show how revolutionary da Vinci’s work was with perspective, the mathematically pleasing placement of each person, and the fact that he included Judas with the other disciples instead of separating him like other artists (del Castagno) did.

However, as I began to look more at del Castagno’s fresco, I started seeing things that were worth mentioning, things that made this just as interesting a piece.

del Castagno’s fresco was painted in 1445-1450 in the refectory of the convent of Sant’Apollonia, now the Museo di Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia, and remained tucked away for only the nun’s eyes until discovered in 1866.

Like da Vinci, del Castagno’s fresco is huge, over 14 feet high and 32 feet wide.

So here are some things that I think make this a worthwhile art piece and therefore more deserving than a footnote.

First of all, del Castagno created a very well placed art piece in colors and body placement. He repeats the same colors throughout his piece offering different shades in the background and foreground. If you look at their hands you see how he does the same method with their bodies, their stances mimicing each other, and creating bookends to the central action of Jesus, Judas, and John.

Secondly, while del Castagno did not use perspective, as it was relatively new, he does create a captivating portrait with his use of the style trompe l’oeil, a tool in which you take a flat surface and make it appear three-dimensional. While looking onto his piece, it is very easy to forget that this is a design a wall and not the alcove he created.

Many of my classmates laughed at this when they saw how easy it was for Judas to be picked out, and I have to agree that at first I too thought it was a bit silly to have him so obviously separated from Jesus and the other disciples. But even though this was popular to do with artists at the time, I kept thinking maybe there was another reason why the artists did this. Most artists made Judas obvious because the people looking at it needed guidance as they couldn’t read and the image created a better way for them to understand the text. However, In this case, the people who would be looking at this would not only be educated but know the bible, and this story very well. To me, there had to be another reason why del Castagno choose to do this.

I believe the reason that Judas is so far from everyone, yet so close as he is right across from Jesus (an arm’s length away). is to show what can happen when sin gets in our life. Here is Judas a man who has been with Jesus through the years, witnessed his miracles, etc.; but because he allowed greed into his heart-was stealing and sinning- creating that little crack to let the devil in; he would forever be separated from Christ. Physically close, yet eternally far. A message that is important for those who are already serving God, such as the nuns, about how easy it is to be separated from him spiritually, while physically we can appear to be serving him. Remember none of the disciples knew what was going on in Judas’ heart as they can only see what is on the outside, what Judas wanted them to see-but Jesus knew what was going on as he can see the heart. Just as he can see yours.

For more Last Supper images, go to What If God Was One of Us?

For more paintings of Christ, go to Book Club Picks: Sandcastle Kings

Viva Las Vegas

So I know you’ve probably been wondering, what’s going on? Where have I been? Have I just crashed from my Valentine’s Day postings?

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Well not exactly. I’m sure you have seen on the news how crazy the weather in California has been. We actually had to evacuate the area for fear of flooding.

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Headed up more north, where I connected to the internet and was able to finish the Valentine’s Day countdown. Then we returned home, as no water had overflowed, repacked and planned to head down to Southern California to wait out the evacuation.

I'm outta here

I’m outta here

But they were going to get the worse storm in 20 years. We decided to skip it, which was good as everyone I knew house’s got flooded.

Not good

Not good

So we were trying to decide where to head next, when Las Vegas was just randomly chosen. There we headed out in a trailer, with my cat (as I wasn’t leaving her) for Sin City.

I'd never leave you.

I’d never leave you.

Now I’ve never really had a desire to go to Vegas. I like gambling, but just for fun. Anytime money is involved I lose; if we play for fun, chores, candy-I’m golden.

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If money-

idon'tgotthis

But that is where everyone wants to go, so we went. Well it took a day to get there as California is huge.

What?!

What?!

We got there around five, but were too tired we just stayed there in the trailer resting.

Draculasleep

The next day it poured! Like crazy pouring, like monsoon weather. It was so crazy and we were so tired of the water that we decided to just stay in again.

Saturday and Doing Nothing

The next day was sunny, but cool which was nice, and we decided to head out. But you know me, I’m not normal.

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Now what I wanted to see more than anything was the mob museum.

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It was AMAZING! Tri-level, with information from the early years to present time. It was chock full of information on the 1920s to the 60s. The later years focused more on the police and FBI. It was extremely interactive with video in a replica of the Las Vegas courthouse, depicting the hearings and using actual furnture from the time period.

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They had practice with weapons, a fake tommy gun that you could pretend shoot:

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and the wall from the St. Valentine’s Massacre that was brough over and reassembled brick by brick. You could see the bullet holes.

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There is so much more, I barely even skimmed the surface in this review of all the amazing things this building has to offer. If you are ever there you should check it out as it was AMAZING!

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After that we drove down the strip looking at all the lighted signs and buildings.

What?!

Wow!

The next day we hit the casinos, but not to play.

Whattheheck

Yep, I wanted to look at all the architecture.

SayWhat

Hey, I told you I was different.

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I loved looking at them, and spent hours walking and checking them all out. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see everything, but I tried my best. My favorite was probably Caesar’s Palace. I loved the extensive details in recreating the roman architecture. It was beautiful. As a former Art History student, I was enthralled.

They even have a life-size replica of Michelangelo’s David, made from the same marble as the original.

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Michaelangelo purposely made this disproportionate as it was supposed to me placed high above on a roof in Florence, so that all could see it.

The sculpture is designed to show David’s warrior soul, not actual physical age, that is why is so muscular and strong. It was also designed to be right before he throws the slingshot, his face in fierce contemplation. It is amazing the way Michelangelo is able to create life out of stone.

The Flamingo is the oldest casino on the strip. It was created by the mobster Bugsy Siegal and his friends and the reason for his death. It was taking too long to build, using too much money, and many believed Bugsy was skimming off the top. Never try to cheat the mob, they will always take you out.

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The Paris Casino was also amazing as it tried hard to replicate the city-from the Arc de Triomphe, to the “cobblestone” floors, to the Rococo style artwork and Salon furniture.

What?!

Wow

And it was cool looking at the Bellagio first hand instead of just a movie, like Ocean’s Eleven.

But there was one big disappointment for me.

Laura Angry Mad Upset

So you all know how much I love Elvis, I am a super fan.

ElvisPresleypandemonium

So I was looking for an Elvis themed souvenir in all the souvenir shops on the strip. But I couldn’t find anything!

SayWhat

I know, right?! I searched every where and was getting desperate…at this point I would have bought anything.

So cool, I want it to be true.

But there was nothing, nada, zip!

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I know, crazy! No Elvis in Vegas! No nothing! Not even an impersonator! Not a copy of the film Viva Las Vegas!

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Oh well, I could probably find something cheaper online.

Supernaturaldean whinchester shrug smile oh well

But hey, just because I missed out doesn’t mean you should. So Elvis, take us out:

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For more on Vegas, go to A Fantabulous Post

For more on the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, go to You’re Sad So I’m Making This Day Extra Special: The Bikini in the Soup, Bones (2011)

For more on Michelangelo, go to The Death of Christ

For more Elvis, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

You’re Just So Pretty to Look At

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10) The Most Aesthetically Pleasing Disney Film

So this is actually split between two films.

1) The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hunchback of notre-dame

So as I stated in an earlier post that I have an art history minor, so this film is amazing. I mean this is so beautiful the way they try and mimick every bit of the orginal structure. It’s hard to find really good pictures of it, you can defintely tell in the actual movie that they tried to copy all of the fine little details, from the Rose Windows, (the round windows in a cathedral that had glass which added to its beauty); the flying buttresses,( the outside supports to help keep the walls up like a strut); and the pointed arches, (the points allowing these stone structures to reach massive heights that were previously unparalleled). The gargoyle that resembles a warthog (which can be seen during the climactic battle atop Notre Dame Cathedral) is not Pumbaa as most think, but a copy of an actual gargoyle on the real Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. In fact in order to get it as close as possible, the animators spent several weeks in and around the actual cathedral. All I can think is good job Disney, you’re doing it right.

2) Sleeping Beauty 

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This film is sooooo AMAZING! They studied actual 14th century paintings and tapestries and hand painted the background in layers like real artists would before adding the animation in on top. For the first time on a Disney animated feature, one man, Eyvind Earle, was in charge of the color styling, background design, and the overall look of the film. He was the one who actually painted the great majority of the production backgrounds for this film. It took  seven to ten days to paint each background, in contrast to one day by animation. This was the last Disney feature to have cels inked by hand. From 101 Dalmatians(1961) onward, the cleaned-up pencil drawings were xeroxed onto the cels. However, some of the scenes in this movie did use the xerography process. This was the first Disney animated film on which Walt Disney personally worked to be released in high definition. This film always leaves me speechless with its beauty and imagery.

For more on my favorite pieces of art, go to Elevation of the Cross

For more on Sleeping Beauty, go to That Would Make Me Happy

For more on Disneygo to The Right Path is Not the Easiest One

For more on The Hunchback from Notre Dame, go to It’s Back: The Sequel