Saturday, April 19, 2014

The mysterious lady

A beautiful poster of a classic 1928 Garbo movie, directed by Fred Niblo. As usual for movies of that time, several quite different movie posters can be found on the web, but this one really stood out for me.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Silent days at the sea

Today marks the start of the fifth edition of Sail Kampen, which is billed as this year's largest Easter weekend event in the Netherlands - and it is happening in front of our house. For the occasion, a beautiful cubist expressionist sailing ships painting from 1929 by German-American Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956). More on Feininger in the linked Wikipedia article.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mobile lovers by Banksy

The jury (well, my opinion at least) is still out on whether master graffiti artist Banksy's crestions are fine art or not. One of his latest creations is one of his best though, in terms of location, concept and execution. This one popped up in Gloucester recently. I made the gif myself to include the surrounding, which enhances the work considerably.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Buddy Bravo's Inspirational Posters

It may not be fine art, but these posters by Buddy Bravo are fun and well made, so good Anything goes material. His beautiful illustrations, clearly inspired by the Jazz Age, are combined with motivational quotes that encourage viewers to really appreciate the world around us.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Links [41]

Once more an overview of interesting links on topics related to the blog, that I encountered recently, but that will probably not make the blog as separate entries. The picture above is by my Flickr friend knirps2007.

Sony World Photography Awards 2014.
Kate Bush: Her Career in Pictures.
The Portrait in the 21st Century.
The World's Most Spectacular Organs.
The World's 30 Ugliest Buildings.
Proposed Designs for London's Tower Bridge (1893).
The World's Most Viewed Photograph (XP).

Monday, April 14, 2014

The weight of your love

I have my long-time friend Paul to thank for this one. I had never heard of the Editors (a British band from Birmingham), until his recommendation. Well, the music is indeed excellent, but the cover of their latest album (The weight of your love, from 2013) is great as well. The photography is credited to Charles Emerson.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Electric sunset

Once more one of my attempts at digital art based on my own photographs, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my new laptop. This is a shot I took a few years ago near our home (at that time). The local artificial lake had frozen over, rendering a special array of colours when the sun set - enhanced by the software's post-treatment. The link leads to the original photograph.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Babylon - Made in Italy

This stunning piece of photo art was a deserved finalist for the Altered Images section of the Smithsonian Magazine's 11th Annual Photo Contest. The artist is Dina Bova from Israel. Her work was inspired by the legendary Babylon tower, as painted by Pieter Bruegel, and a trip to the beautiful Cinque Terre region in Italy. All rights retained by the artist, as usual.


Friday, April 11, 2014


More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is a shot created by their member spudnick for the Make this realistic 4 contest - starting from scratch with just a simple sketch as a model image. Impressive how natural everything looks in this effort, the deserved winner of the contest.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Nomad Patterns by Livia Marin

The sculptures in the series Nomad patterns by Livia Marin are absolutely amazing. She creates ceramic cups, tea pots and vases that melt into puddles of porcelain while maintaining the original oriental inspired patterns. As always, all rights retained by the creator.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Jawlensky and Werefkin

Three expressionist masters for the price of one: this relaxed portrait from 1909 by Gabriele Muenter (at the time the partner of Kandinsky) depicts her colleagues Marianne von Werefkin and Alexej von Jawlensky. More on Muenter in the linked Wikipedia article.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Knoxville: Summer of 1915

As it is my birthday today, I decided to treat myself to one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written: Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915, in the perfect version by soprano Dawn Upshaw and the Orchestra of St. Luke's under David Zinman.


Monday, April 07, 2014

Vogue April 1919

A beautiful Vogue cover from the days before Art Deco. This spring beauty was created by one of its most famous illustrators, Helen Dryden.


Sunday, April 06, 2014


One of the most stunning vintage posters I have come across in recent months. The Swiss branch of Chrysler produced this beauty in the 1930s. The contrast between the natural shape of the car and the stylized contours of the alps, enhanced by the colours chosen, is simply amazing.

Vintage Posters

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Unusual concertos [68]: Ney

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - realizing 60+ this time.

The sixty-eighth concerto deals with the ney (image source). This is the end-blown flute that has been popular in the Middle East for about 5000 years - making it one of the oldest instruments in the world. Not surprisingly, it did not find use in western classical music until fairly recently. The one concerto I know for this instrument was composed by Fazil Say, a Turkish pianist and composer. On the one existing (live) recording, it is played by Burcu Karadag and the Orchestra of National Theater Mannheim under Dan Ettinger, available on a Naive CD.

Go here

Friday, April 04, 2014

Paul Wittgenstein: The man with the golden arm

Many classical music lovers will have heard of Paul Wittgenstein, the man who commissioned such famous works for piano left hand only as Ravel's second piano concerto and Prokofiev's fourth. He had lost his right arm on the Russian front in 1914 - which did not stop him pursuing a career as pianist. The linked article gives a lot of information on this character, who was not always pleasant - for instance, he disallowed others to play pieces he commissioned even if he disliked them so much that he would never play them himself. A famous case is the aforementioned Prokofiev concerto, of which he said: “Thank you for the concerto, but I do not understand a single note in it, and I will not play it.” Recommended reading if you are into classical music.

web site

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Ed van der Elsken

Ed van der Elsken (1925 – 1990) was a Dutch photographer and filmmaker. His photographs give an excellent feeling of what life was like in the period 1945-1975, especially in Paris and Amsterdam. A good example of his street photography is the shot shown above: one of our favourite places in Paris, Cafe de Flore on the Boulevard Saint Germain. More on van der Elsken in the Wikipedia article linked to below.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Apeldoorn abstraction

Back to doing one of the things I like best in photography: discovering painting-like abstracts at unusual places. In this case, by taking close-ups of the seats of chairs of an Apeldoorn restaurant (first in a series of four). That it became my 60th picture to reach Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting photographs of the day, is a welcome bonus.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.025 sec (1/80)
Aperture: f/5.0
Focal Length: 5 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

My obsession with ranking

This post was triggered by discussions in recent months at the Talk Classical forum, about the (in)ability to rank composers. First off, I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as an objective measure for a composer's greatness, unlike say a composer's height (image sourced from here). At best, one can average a large number of subjective preferences and come to a  result that some might call objective greatness (but I do not). That said, subjectively I can rank composers or compositions in order of preference, and it is a fact that I love doing so. Well, it appears that although I am not alone in this, there are also large numbers of classical music aficionados to whom this whole ranking concept is alien and incomprehensible. This weekend I suddenly realized where my preference for rankings comes from. When I first got really interested in music, it was in pop and rock as broadcast on the Dutch radio in the seventies. Charts played a big role for me at that time, seeing how well (or badly) songs I liked were doing in the top40. Every year there was also a top100 of all time on the radio, as chosen by the listeners. This inspired me to rank my all-time favourite songs many times over the years, most recently in my blog Countdown to Ecstasy. And this conditioned behaviour with respect to pop and rock songs is in hindsight almost certainly what is behind my ranking obsession (as others call it) in classical music. Anyway, it does not hurt anyone, so I will continue doing it.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Kielo travel agency

I love how this ad works with a minimum change of a common situation. A document binder, set in an office environment, is transformed into an imaginary swimming pool thanks yo a few scribbled circles. Excellent work by Serbian agency New Moment New Ideas Company Y&R and the creative director Svetlana Copic.

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