Archive for December, 2010

Christmas Greetings!

Posted in ART, DESIGN with tags , , , on December 22, 2010 by echostains

The first Christmas card was commissioned by Henry Cole in 1843, London.  The image  can be found on this video – see if you can spot it.  Early Christmas cards were rarely religious, the focus was fairies, flowers and the approach of Spring.  Cards could be sentimental featuring humour and children. I  have started the video with some religious paintings which can be seen nowadays on Christmas cards.  The cards I have chosen are an eclectic mix of sentimental, humourous, wintery ,nostalgic and Jolly – just like Christmas should be.  This is an early attempt at making  a YouTube video.  Expect more (hopefully better:-))

The music
Prokofiev’s Winter Fairy (from Cinderella), performed by Caela Harrison from here

The credits are many;

coolcatsblog operationletter bekati leepowelldesign clipartandcraft colourbakery  quickstep frostysclub  beliefnet faripop confarta
Lovely vintage cards here  here here  here and here also here and here

A Portrait of Jane (Austen)

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS with tags , , , , , on December 16, 2010 by echostains

Today is the 235th birthday of British writer Jane Austen b.1775 – 1817.  Austen is one of  the most well-known  female author of  English Literature.  Her shrewd observations, wry wit and social commentary give us an insight into Georgian society.  She came from a  close large  consisting of Father George Austen, mother Cassandra Leigh and six brothers and one sister, Cassandra b. 1873.  Much has been written about the author and her life on the fabulous Pemberley website

Jane Austen 1870 1869 engraving showing an idealized, young Jane Austen, based on a sketch by Cassandra Austen

 Austen started writing when she was young but it wasn’t until 1811 that she achieved any success (Sense and Sensibility) this was followed by perhaps her most popular novel Pride and Prejudice1813, then Mansfield Park 1814.  Emma followed in 1816 and this was followed by Northanger Abbey and Persuasion which were both published posthumously in 1818.  She began another book Sanditon but died before it was finished.

As to my aunt’s personal appearance, hers was the first face I can remember thinking pretty. Her face was rather round than long, she had a bright, but not a pink colour­ a clear brown complexion, and very good hazel eyes. Her hair, a darkish brown, curled naturally, it was in short curls around her face. She always wore a cap.”
Recollections of Aunt Jane by Caroline Austen

Cassandra drawing

It is impossible to really know exactly what Jane Austen looked like.  Etchings and paintings have all been based upon this rudimentary sketch by Cassandra the authors sister.  People who knew Jane are divided: some thought the sketch generally unlike her.  However, in 2002 Forensic artist Melissa Dring  attempted a definitive portrait of the author, which was unveiled at the Jane Austen centre in Bath, with this result:-

Jane Austen by Melissa Dring

In creating this work, Ms. Dring explains, “The natural starting point, then, had to be Cassandra’s sketch, which I reversed, as I decided to have Jane looking the other way, and also I needed to make her look a few years younger. Cassandra drew Jane at 35, and I had to make her aged 26-31, during her years in Bath. Above all, though, I wanted to bring out something of Jane’s lively and humorous character, so evident in her novels and all contemporary accounts of her. Cassandra’s drawing may have been quite like Jane physically, but has failed to catch her sparkle.”*

I suppose we’ll never know for sure what Jane Austen really looked like, but it’s fun to speculate 🙂

Meanwhile over on Bookstains – there are MORE Austen Celebrations plus a Poll!

Lots more portraits and info from here

Find out about Jane Austen the author here

Images from here here

video by ewell01 Thanks!

Happy Birthday (again) Edvard Munch!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , on December 12, 2010 by echostains

Today is the birthday of Edvard Munch (1863 – 1944) Norwegian Symbolist artist and printmaker and a forerunner of the Expressionist art movement .  There a quite a few videos to choose from which feature his work, but I rather like this one because of the way the music seems to capture the mood of his work. The music sounds to me like it comes from Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.

An early Echostains posts explores this artist further and references his most famous painting ‘The Scream’ and where the idea may have come from.

Picasso Pops up

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS with tags , on December 6, 2010 by echostains

Art pops up in the most unexpected places (see my post about Michaelangelo’s work found behind a sofa…).   271 pieces of Pablo Picasso‘s work have now turned up in a garage on the French Rivera.  They have lain there in a cardboard box for 40 years. Retired electrician 71-year-old Pierre Le Guennec sought to have them authenticated by the Picasso administration.  The artist’s son Claude Picasso and 5 other heirs say that the works are stolen and have slapped a lawsuit upon Le Guennec.


The previously unseen work includes drawings, lithographs, cubist collages, a watercolour and notebooks.  They are estimated to be worth between 60 -80 million dollars according to different sources.  Le Guennec included photographs of 27 of the works in an email to the Picasso administration.  Christine Pinault, Claude Picasso’s assistant and an employee of the Picasso Administration and the family have  acknowledge authenticity but question how Le Guennec came into possession of the works.  Le Guennec says that he received the works from Picasso’s wife in return for alarm systems he installed.  The family say that whilst Picasso did give gifts – he usually dedicated them.

Picasso - Pipe, Glass, Bottle of Vieux Marc an example of the artists collage work

Meanwhile, the works  were seized by France’s Central Office for the Fight Against Traffic in Cultural Goods October 5  and are now holding them in a vault at its Nanterre office, northwest of Paris.  The couple have said theat they don’t want to sell them – just have them authenticated  and clear the matter up for their children.  I wonder what the outcome shall be of this interesting case?

More info and another video from here

youtube video from itnnews thanks!

Picasso photo from here and collage here


Don’t forget the latest poetry challenge over on Bookstains!