Monday, February 29, 2016

Pre-Historic Cave Paintings

Cave paintings are paintings found on cave walls and ceilings, and especially those of prehistoric origin, which date back to some 40,000 years ago (around 38,000 BCE) in both Asia and Europe. The exact purpose of the Paleolithic cave paintings is not known. However, evidence suggests that they were not merely decorations of living areas since the caves in which they have been found do not have signs of ongoing habitation.
They are also often located in areas of caves that are not easily accessible. Some theories hold that cave paintings may have been a way of communicating with others, while other theories ascribe a religious or ceremonial purpose to them. The paintings are remarkably similar around the world, with animals being common subjects that give the most impressive images. Humans mainly appear as images of hands, mostly hand stencils made by blowing pigment on a hand held to the wall.
The earliest known cave paintings/drawings of animals are at least 35,000 years old, at Maros on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia.. Previously, it was believed that the earliest paintings were in Europe. The earliest figurative paintings in Europe date back to approximately 30,000 to 32,000 years ago and are found in the Chauvet Cave in France and in the Coliboaia Cave in Romania.
Nearly 340 prehistoric caves have now been discovered in France and Spain. Initially, the age of the paintings had been a contentious issue but modern technology has made it possible to date the paintings by sampling the pigment itself and the torch marks on the walls. The choice of subject matter can also indicate chronology. For instance, the reindeer depicted in the Spanish cave of Cueva de las Monedas places the drawings in the last Ice Age.
The oldest date given to an animal cave painting is now "a pig that has a minimum age of 35,400 years old" at Maros in Sulawesi, an Indonesian island. Both Indonesian and Australian scientists have dated other non-figurative paintings on the walls to be approximately 40,000 years old. And, cave paintings in El Castillo cave were found to date back to at least 37,300 years old by researchers at Bristol University, making them the oldest known cave paintings. This date coincides with the earliest known evidence for Homo sapiens in Europe. Because of the cave art's age, some scientists have conjectured that the paintings may have been made by Neanderthals.
The earliest known European figurative cave paintings are those of Chauvet Cave in France. These paintings date to earlier than 30,000 BCE according to radio-carbon dating. The radiocarbon dates from these samples show that there were two periods of creation in Chauvet: 35,000 years ago and 30,000 years ago. One of the surprises was that many of the paintings were modified repeatedly over thousands of years, possibly explaining the confusion about finer paintings that seemed to date earlier than cruder ones. And in 2009, cavers discovered drawings in Coliboaia Cave in Romania, stylistically comparable to those at Chauvet.
In Australia, cave paintings have been found on the Arnhem Land plateau showing megafauna which are thought to have been extinct for over 40,000 years, making this site another candidate for oldest known painting; however, the proposed age is dependent on the estimate of the extinction of the species seemingly depicted. Another Australian site, Nawarla Gabarnmang, has charcoal drawings that have been radiocarbon-dated to 28,000 years, making it the oldest site in Australia and among the oldest in the world .
The most common subjects in cave paintings are large wild animals, such as bison, horses,  aurochs and deer, and tracings of human hands as well as abstract patterns called finger flutings. The species found most often were suitable for hunting by humans, but were not necessarily the actual typical prey found in associated deposits of bones. For example, the painters of Lascaux have mainly left reindeer bones, but this species does not appear at all in the cave paintings where equine species are the most common. Drawings of human are very rare and large animals are also the most common subjects in the many small carved and engraved bone or ivory pieces dating from the same periods.

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Examples of  Pre--Historic Cave Painting





Bull and Cattle



Donald Trump Quotes

Donald Trump

Donald John Trump is an American businessman, television personality, and since June 2015, a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election.

Born: June 14, 1946 (age 69), Queens, New York City, NY

Net worth: 4 billion USD (2015) Forbes

Spouse: Melania Trump (m. 2005), Marla Maples (m. 1993–1999), Ivana Trump (m. 1977–1992)

Religion: Presbyterian (Protestant)

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“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
"I am going to protect Christians."
"Everything in life is luck."
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
 “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barrack Osama's birth certificate is a fraud."
“The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes  every day.
 “Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”
“Laziness is a trait in the blacks. ... Black guys counting my money! I hate it.”
“A certificate of live birth is not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination as a birth certificate.” (Concerning whether President Obama was born in the U.S.)
 “I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”  (The President of Mexico has already said that he will never pay for it.)
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.” 
The U.S. will invite El Chapo, the Mexican drug lord who just escaped prison, to become a U.S. citizen because our "leaders" can't say no!
 “Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.”
“All of the women on The Apprentice  (TV show) flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”  (Unconsciously???)
 “One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace. Good people don’t go into government.”  (What does that say about Trump's wanting to be the next President?)
“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”
"He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK, I hate to tell you."
"It’s freezing and snowing in New York – we need global warming."
“I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” 
“My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.” 
“I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.”  (Open your eyes.)
“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”  
"The point is, you can never be too greedy." 
"My IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure; it's not your fault."“The other candidates — they went in, they didn’t know the air conditioning didn’t work. They sweated like dogs...How are they gonna beat ISIS? I don’t think it’s gonna happen.” 
"I don't know anything about David Duke (the head of the KKK) and of a white supremacists, okay? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don't know." (Your running for President of the U.S. and have no idea who the  anti-black KKK is or about white supremacists? Yet, you accepted an endorsement by this hate group? How could you not know about the KKK? Were you absent from school when they taught about the Civil War and its aftermath?)
”Hillary Clinton was the worst Secretary of State in the history of the United States. There's never been a Secretary of State so bad as Hillary. The world blew up around us. We lost everything, including all relationships. There wasn't one good thing that came out of that administration or her being Secretary of State.” (Another insult thrown at a prominent successful woman. And, this one is just factually incorrect.)
"He's not a war hero because he was caught.". (Concerning Senator John McCain, a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.)
"Our politicians are stupid. And the Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning. And they send the bad ones over because they don't want to pay for them. They don't want to take care of them. Why should they when the stupid leaders of the United States will do it for them?"
"Your fired!"
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What does that tell you about people who want Donald Trump to be the next

President of the United States?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Neglected Important Artists, No. 24

Antonio  Mancini was born in Rome and showed precocious ability as an artist. At the age of twelve, he was admitted to the Institute of Fine Arts in Naples, where he studied under Domenico Morelli (1823–1901), a painter of historical scenes who favored dramatic chiaroscuro and vigorous brushwork, and Filippo Palizzi. Mancini developed quickly under their guidance, and in 1872, he exhibited two paintings at the Paris Salon.

Mancini worked at the forefront of the Verismo movement, an indigenous Italian response to 19th-century Realist aesthetics. His usual subjects included children of the poor, juvenile circus performers, and musicians he observed in the streets of Naples. His portrait of a young acrobat in Il Saltimbanco (1877–78) exquisitely captures the fragility of the boy whose impoverished childhood is spent entertaining pedestrian crowds.

While in Paris in the 1870s, Mancini met the Impressionist painters Edgar Degas and Édouard Manet. He became friends with John Singer Sargent, who famously pronounced him to be the greatest living painter. His mature works show a brightened palette with a striking impasto technique on canvas and a bold command of pastels on paper.

In 1881, Mancini suffered a disabling mental illness. He settled in Rome in 1883 for twenty years, then moved to Frascati where he lived until 1918. During this period of Mancini's life, he was often destitute and relied on the help of friends and art buyers to survive. After the First World War, his living situation stabilized and he achieved a new level of serenity in his work. Mancini died in Rome in 1930 and buried in the Basilica Santi Bonifacio e Alessio on the Aventine Hill.

His painting, The Poor Schoolboy, exhibited in the Salon of 1876, is displayed in the Musee d'Orsay of Paris. Its realist subject matter and dark palette are typical of his early work. Paintings by Mancini also may be seen in Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome, the Museo Civico-Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Turin, and other galleries in Italy.

The first exhibition in the U.S. devoted exclusively to Mancini's work was at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, October 20, 2007 – January 20, 2008. The Philadelphia Art Museum holds fifteen oil paintings and three pastels by Mancini that were a gift of New York art dealer Vance N. Jordan.

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Painting by Antonio Mancini

The Poor Schoolboy


Il Saltimbaco



Girl with a White Vail

Portrait of the Artist's Father

The Little Seminarian


Portrait of Ariana Wormeley Curtis


Self -Portrait

Friday, February 19, 2016

Unusual Words

Here are a few very unusual or seldom used English language words. Astonish people by correctly using them.

Acersecomic: A person whose hair has never been cut.

Biblioclasm: The practice of destroying, often ceremoniously, books or other written material and media.

Cacodemonomania: The pathological belief that one is inhabited by an evil spirit.

Dactylion: An anatomical landmark located at the tip of the middle finger.

Enantiodromia: The conversion of something into its opposite.

Fanfaronade: Swaggering; empty boasting; blustering manner or behavior; ostentatious display.

Gorgonize: To have a paralyzing or mesmerizing effect on. Synonyms: stupefy or petrify.

Hamartia: The character flaw or error of a tragic hero that leads to his downfall.

Infandous: Unspeakable or too odious to be expressed or mentioned.

Jettatura: The casting of an evil eye.

Ktenology: The science of putting people to death.

Leptosome: A person with a slender, thin, or frail body.

Montivagant: Wandering over hills and mountains.

Noegenesis: Production of knowledge.

Ostentiferous: Bringing omens or unnatural or supernatural manifestations.

Pogonotrophy: The act of cultivating, or growing and grooming, a mustache, beard, sideburns or other facial hair.

Quockerwodger: A rare nineteenth-century word for a wooden toy which briefly became a political insult.

Recumbentibus: A knockout punch, either verbal or physical.

Scripturient: Possessing a violent desire to write.

Tarantism: A disorder characterised by an uncontrollable urge to dance.

Ultracrepidarian: A person who gives opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge.

Vernalagnia: A romantic mood brought on by spring.

Welter: A confused mass; a jumble; turmoil or confusion.

Xenization: The act of traveling as a stranger.

Yonderly: Mentally or emotionally distant; absent-minded.

Zugzwang: A position in which any decision or move will result in problem.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Japanese Art of the Woodblock Print

In Japanese art, the term Ukiyo-e ("pictures of the floating world") is commonly used to describe woodblock prints and paintings from the period (c.1670-1900). Due to their cheap price and attractive appearance, these Japanese woodcuts became hugely popular with ordinary townspeople in the metropolitan culture of Edo (Tokyo), during the second half of the 17th century.

The prints usually depicted landscapes, tales from history, scenes from the Kabuki theatre, as well as courtesans, geisha and other aspects of everyday city life. If initially considered ephemeral and vulgar, Ukiyo-e became the dominant art movement in Japan during the period, where it was appreciated above all as a colorful form of decorative art. It was also the principal type of printmaking in the country. By the 1860s, large quantities of inexpensive Japanese prints and other artifacts were arriving in European ports.

These prints - notably works by Harunobu (1724-1770), Hiroshige(1797-1858), Hokusai (1760-1849), and Utamaro (c.1753-1806) - had an impact on the history of poster art as well as European modern art movements like Impressionism, as well as several schools of Post-Impressionism, including Synthetism and Cloisonnism (both 1888-94). Such was the craze for Japanese artworks, a phase known as Japonism, that an art dealer in Paris called Tadamasa Hayashi sold more than 150,000 Ukiyo-e prints during the years 1890-1901.

The history of Ukiyo-e can be divided into two periods: the Edo period, which covers ukiyo-e from its origins in the 1620-30s until about 1867, when the Tokugawa Shogunate began to crumble; and the Meiji period, which lasted until 1912. If the Edo period provided a calm environment for the development of the art in a commercial form, the Meiji period led to more innovation as Japan opened up to the West.

The two and a half centuries of peace presided over by the Tokugawa shoguns of Japan during the Edo period (1603-1867) stimulated the growth of popular culture and with it the art of Ukiyo (floating world). Ukiyo reflected the Buddhist credo that all is illusion, and during the Edo era it came to mean the pursuit of ephemeral pleasure. Woodblock printing enabled artists to reproduce large quantities of cheap images and triggered the mass circulation of Ukiyo-e.

Suddenly art could be enjoyed by the general population as well as the ruling elite. In fact, woodblock printing had been used to mass-produce Buddhist religious texts and simple devotional images ever since the 8th century, but it wasn't until the early 16th century that illustrated books were printed. These ehon (purely picture books, as well as books with stories and picture illustrations) triggered a huge demand for all kinds of books as well as book illustration, and it was this that led to the large-scale production of Ukiyo prints.

After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan went through a westernization phase (bunmei-kaika) during which it opened up to imports from the West, including photography, which largely superseded Ukiyo-e during the period. Ukiyo-e became so old-fashioned that the prints, now virtually worthless, were used as packaging materials. By then, however, large quantities of prints had been exported to Europe, where they rapidly became a source of inspiration for many modern artists, such as Van Gogh (1853-1890), Whistler (1834-1903), Claude Monet (1832-83), Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Mary Cassatt (1845-1926) and Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). Also, Jules Cheret (1836-1932), the father of French poster art was also influenced by Ukiyo-e woodblock prints from Japan.

In line with its mass-appeal, Ukiyo focused on the ordinary things of life. Appreciated for its bright color and decorativeness, its images frequently depicted a narrative, and included animals, birds and landscapes, as well as people from the lower social classes, like courtesans, sumo wrestlers and Kibuki actors. Its impact on French painting was due to the unique characteristics of Ukiyo-e, including its exaggerated foreshortening, asymmetry of design, areas of flat (unshaded) color, and imaginative cropping of figures.

Despite the technical expertise of print masters like Suzuki Harunobu (1724–1770) and Ando Hiroshige (1797–1858), each print needed the co-operation of four experts: (1) artist, (2) engraver, (3) printer, (4) publisher.

The print was usually initiated by the publisher, who was typically also a distributor or bookseller. He selected the theme and determined the quality required. The brief was then given to the artist to design, except that the quality of the finished product was heavily dependent on the skills of both the engraver, and the printer.

Known in the West as xylography (from the Greek word 'xulon' for wood and 'graphikos' for writing), the actual design of a monochrome Ukiyo-e print was usually executed using the following procedure: The artist began by creating a master drawing in ink. A tracing (hanshita) of the drawing was then made on paper by the artist's assistant.

The hanshita was then glued face-down onto a block of wood, by an engraver, and white areas of the paper were cut away. The drawing, in reverse, remained as a relief print on the block, which was then inked and printed, producing almost exact copies of the original master drawing. (The drawing could be drawn directly onto the block surface, after which the untouched areas would be removed with gouges, leaving the raised image which would then be inked.) Color prints were made using a separate carved block for each color. Several thousand copies of a print could be made until the engravings on the blocks became worn and flat.

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Examples of Japanese Woodblock Prints

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa

Visions of Turmoil and Transition

(Kabuki actor) Ichikawa Danjūrō I in the role of Takenuki Gorō

Snow at Miyajima


Travelers Crossing the Oi River


A Samuri Actor


Warriors, Maidens and Samurai


A Heron Catching Fish in the Rain