The Art Of Passover

The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan, April 10–18, 2017 (Hebrew year 5777).
Happy Passover to those who celebrate. !חג פסח שמח
For Jews around the world, the Pesach Seder is an excellent occasion to gather at a large table, eat, drink and recall the exodus from Egypt.

For the great painters of the Renaissance, the ritual served as an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

Here is how Leonardo da Vinci painted the Seder of 13 Nisan 3793 on the wall of the refectory of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. The painting dates from 1495-1498:
Below is the engraving of Albrecht Dürer, created in 1523, from collection of the New York Metropolitan Museum. St John is easily recognized here not only by the absence of a beard, but also by his place at the festive table. It is unclear, though, where the Jesus’s favorite pupil hid his legs. Judas is conspicuously absent, perhaps not to spoil the festive mood.Still below, is the amusing painting of Paolo Veronese “The Feast in the House of Levi”. Originally it was also called “The Last Supper”, but it had to be renamed after the intervention of the Inquisition, accusing the artist of an unfaithful depiction of the event. Veronese’s Last Supper is different from the canonical description by the evangelists. The Seder begins after the stars come out, however Veronese’s Seder feast takes place in the light of the day. The main objection, though, was the “composition” of the participants  — too many people that shouldn’t have been in the presence of Jesus at His Last Supper. The problem went away when the feast has been moved to the “house of Levi”. The canvas of epic proportions (one and a half times larger than Leonardo’s fresco) occupies the entire wall of the Venetian Academy:
The famous canvas of Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti), created in Venice almost 100 years after the masterpiece of Leonardo. The painting is exhibited in the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore on the island of the same name. In the best baroque traditions, it depicts Jesus and his disciples at the festive table in the 16th century Venetian trattoria. Curiously, the mighty Inquisition had no problem with Tintoretto who placed a number of extraneous persons onto the canvas. Perhaps, it was because the supper takes place with the stars out?
“The Last Supper” by the Russian artist Nikolai Ge below was presented to the public in the fall of 1863 in the Academy of Arts of St. Petersburg. Church censorship tried to ban it and demanded its removal from the exhibition. The day was saved by Tsar Alexander II intervention. The royal mecenat bought the painting from the artist. Grudgingly, the clerics had to forget about their claims for a while (although the synodal ban on the publication of reproductions in Russia persisted until the February Revolution of 1917).It should be noted that of the five masterpieces above, only Nikolai Ge’s correctly reflected the ritual of the Last Supper: Passover, the exodus of Jews from Egyptian bondage should be celebrated reclining (מסובין) rather than sitting on the chairs around the table. Accordingly, Jesus’s beloved disciple shouldn’t be depicted sitting on the Teacher’s lap as portrayed by Durer, but rather reclined beside Him.

Many other great masters painted the Last Supper, among them Daniele Crespi, Hans Holbein (Hans the Younger), Juan de Juanes, Ugolino da Siena, Duccio di Buoninsegna

The Feather Book of Dionisio Minaggio

The Feather Book of Dionisio Minaggio, also referred to in Italian as Il bestiario barocco (The Baroque Bestiary), is a collection of 156 pictures made almost entirely from bird feathers augmented with pieces of bird skin, feet, and beaks. They were created between 1616 and 1618 by Dionisio Minaggio, the chief gardener of the Duchy of Milan and were originally bound into a book. The majority of pictures in the book are of birds indigenous to the Lombardy region of Italy at the time, but it also contained sets of other images depicting hunters, tradesmen, musicians, and commedia dell’arte characters. (Wikipedia)There are amusing scenes of everyday life: a patient suffering in the hands of a dentist, a man playing a melody on a pipe, and waiting for his dog to “do her things” — musicians, artisans and actors, birds and plants.
At that time, Milan was ruled by Spain, and the Spaniards were familiar with the art of the pen widely practiced in Central and South America. Although the style and methods were very different, it is possible that knowledge about this art form served as inspiration. Still, this is only an educated guess.To this day, we do not have the faintest idea why Dionisio Minaggio created such an unusual for the time book, and who, if anyone, commissioned it.

Meet The Artist: Pedro Roldán Molina

molina 1.jpg
molina 98molina 2An unusual technique, sunny colors, a fantastic country…

Molina_hudozhnikPedro Roldán Molina is an internationally recognized and well-known Spanish artist. He was born in the province of Cordoba in Rute, Spain, in 1954. He studied art in Barcelona. His work can be seen in major museums around the world.

Currently, Pedro Roldán Molina lives and works in Granada, Spain.

molina 7 molina 4An aura of a perfect dream…molina 8What you see and hear, to some extent, depends on what you are. I believe that each canvas, still life, landscape, in essence, is a self-portrait of the soul. (From a blog featuring  works of Pedro Roldán Molina.)molina 95molina 6molina 91molina 93molina 94

Trash As Art

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Portuguese street artist Artur Bordalo creates monumental three-dimensional sculptures of animals using, well, garbage that people routinely throw out, depositing their refuse not necessarily in or around designated garbage disposal places. Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама  The artist wants to draw public attention to environmental pollution.Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Arthur creates three-dimensional animals from garbage and old rubbish, which people throw out.Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Artur’s work can be found not only in Portugal, but also in other countries, in particular in the United States and Estonia. Presumably, he doesn’t transport his native Portuguese garbage but uses local materials easily found no matter wherever he goes.  Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Meet The Artist: Sergey Kolesov

red-doorDigital art. Concept art. That’s about Sergey Kolesov.  He was born, brought up and educated in Ivanovo, Russian Federation.

I love drawing since childhood. I drew on desks, in notebooks and in textbooks. I drew comics, ninjas and Schwarzenegger.

Digital art world is global “by design.” Sergey worked for Half Life 2 and then spent two years living and working at Arkane Studios in Brno, Czech Republic.

Nowadays Mr. Kolesov hails from Lyon, France, where he is employed as staff concept artist by Arkane Studios.

See more of Sergey’s works here. He also shows his technique in a series of “sped up”videos on Vimeo. Although digital artwork does not involve waiting for oil paints to dry,  the “road” from one pixel to a complete product is a very, very tedious process. It takes tons of time and patience. And talent, of course, in addition to the expertise in using digital tools. And imagination. Lots of it. Have I mentioned talent?

Dolls With A Message

_DSC0327Doll “WIFE”, Author Marina Bychkova, Canada

In the words of the doll-maker: Playing with doll-brides, romantic little girls dream of growing up, marrying a handsome prince and live happily ever after in a partnership of two loving hearts. The doll-maker tries to explore the darker side of marriage. By the way, contrary to the stereotype, the violent aggressor may as well be a representative of a weaker sex. All the love stories end in a wedding. And then what?_DSC0330“Survivor” Doll, Author Marina Bychkova, Canada

The tragic image of this doll is a tribute to  women who survived.It is also a tribute to those who could not win …. I beg you – take care of yourself, watch your health, do a mammogram at least once a year. In this creation I express my personal fear of this terrible disease, my clear understanding that one day I may hear, “You have breast cancer.” I can only hope to be as brave as those who faced this disease and conquered it. (Marina Bychkova, excerpt, translation.)

15588Doll “Nicole”, Author Methos, Israel

Nicole is a nightmare of Mitos’ childhood. Once he saw a plaster cast of an ancient female torso, headless and limbless. What is more important in a human body, the most beautiful and attractive? Nicole embodies the fear of amputation, one of the most powerful of fears.

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Doll “ALICE”, Author Natas, France

Loosely translating Natas’ own word:  “I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass.
A child is inevitably grows up, gradually growing into a reality, entangled in it, as into a web. Creating our own world, we are running out of time and effort since, growing up, we are more and more concerned with demands of everyday life. Fulfilling these obligations gives us a realistic view of the world , professionalism and routine and, gradually, robs us of magic. Then the rabbit becomes just a rabbit, and the cat never smiles…

But there are exceptions among us — the cranks that never seem to mature. They are different — odd, slightly detached, asking odd questions. They see many of our everyday problems in a different light.  These people aren’t of this world, we often say condescendingly and… enviously. Because not everyone has a luxury to remain a child, living by one’s  own rules. But is it possible to spend one’s entire life in a rabbit hole? And not get bored to tears? It looks like our Alice knows the answer to this question.shocking-art-2012-mimi

Doll “MIMI”, Author Natas, France

The looks are deceiving, as all the external is deceptive. the essence of things. insecurity mask successfully hide dependent, under the veil of romance can be found a liar, beautiful face sometimes masks ugly soul.  We are always on the alert, because of this tend of being deceived all the time. Even the absence of the mask may be a mask. The most elegant way to say a lie is to tell the truth!

Little Mimi is a good girl, we assume, don’t we, although her story remains behind the scenes. There is an ax in her hand. Why? Perhaps, on a freezing autumn evening, she decided to cut some wood for the fireplace. Perhaps — some believe — in a cruel world where she is so helpless and small, she needs an ax to be brave. Might as well, Little Mimi is up to no good…

“What do you think?” the doll-maker asks. He doesn’t know either. No matter how deceptive the looks, our world (and out secrets) are within us. What kind of emotions will prevail is the end? The nature of things are so confusing, both to the artist and to us…

Meet The Artist: Steven Spazuk

It would seem that, in this age of modern technology even gives in to work progress – there are new kinds of hobbies, new musical instruments and new technologies in architecture. And the experienced viewer is already difficult to surprise. However, the human imagination is limitless and always able to present something new.

Canadian artist Steven Spazuk began his career using quite ordinary techniques. First, there were pencil drawings, then oil paintings and watercolors. This was followed by passion for airbrushing. Soon, it has become Stephen’s favorite method due to its soft, smooth shape, a certain lightness and ease.It would seem that, in this day and age, modern technology touches everything, art including. There are new kind of hobbies, new musical instruments and new technologies in architecture. It’s difficult to surprise an experiences art-lover. However, the human imagination is limitless and always able to present something new.

In 2001, Steven Spazuk began working with the burner, discovering a new dimension of creativity.“[This technique] changed my life, it gives me a great deal, it is unique. The spontaneity of the process — that’s the most interesting. Approaching the canvas, I do not know what will happen, what to follow and what’ll come out,” the artist says.

“I don’t control anything, I merely let the candle and its flame to do their job. And then look what happened. Usually what happens is these abstract shapes of soot in which I can see the picture. Looking at these shapes, I suddenly can see an elbow, knee, chest or leg –and then so be it,” says Steven.

Stephen’s unique set of tools includes brushes with metal bristles, needles, feathers.  This is a rather difficult technique, very time-consuming, so the author spends lots of time in his studio.

The idea of “playing with fire” came to the artist in his sleep. In his dream, Steven visited the gallery, where every picture was created using this technique. Incredible but true, in the dream he already knew how create such paintings. Many years since passed, the technique underwent many changes, became more varied and sophisticated.  That’s how it’s done:

Using a burner or a candle the artist gets soot on the sheet. Then, using the “traditional” tools, outlines a drawing adding contours.
And then remains a delicate job of of putting finishing touches with emphasis on smallest details.

Steven is a versatile artist:

Meet The Sculptor: Philip Jackson

Born in Inverness, Philip Jackson lives and works in West Sussex. He was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2009.

Jackson’s ability to convey the human condition through skillful use of body language is legendary, producing figures both imposing and operatic in their narrative and presence, which are recognizable worldwide.
Powerful and beautifully sculpted, Jackson’s meticulously precise posturing of each piece creates an overwhelming sense of drama.

escultorWhether with the prestigious, figuratively detailed public monuments and statues for which he is often commissioned, or his hauntingly elegant and theatrically enigmatic gallery sculptures, Philip Jackson’s work is truly awe inspiring — it never fails to move people.

Meet The Artist: Tomek Setowsky

Image result for setowskyTomek Setowski (his web page is in Polish with lots of images) is a Polish artist born, by his own admission, “a very long time ego” in Kraków-Częstochowa Upland. He revealed his artistic talents at the tender age of three.His learning lasted for a long time…BiografiaThe young dreamer honed his painting skills over the years, displaying his works first at local galleries and then moving to the best showrooms of the world.For many years Setowski has been put under the wide notion of surrealism. Only recently it was decided that artists having a similar style fall under “magical realism” or “fantastic realism” and the artists themselves (what is often stressed by Setowski) are closer to Bosch than Salvador Dali. There are not many representatives of this trend in the world, for creating such works deserves a faultless, almost masterly technique and immense imagination. (From an article on Setowski here.)

Cloning Voynich Manuscript

It's one of the world's most mysterious books; a centuries-old manuscript written in an unknown or coded language that no one has cracked. Now after a ten-year quest for access, Siloe, a small publishing house has secured the right to clone the Voynich manuscriptVoynich Manuscript, all 240 pages of it, remains a literary mystery that baffled scholars, cryptographers and code-breakers since its discovery in an Italian monastery in 1912. Recently, it was widely reported that Siloe, a small Spanish publishing house has secured the right to clone the document.  898 exact replicas of the Voynich manuscript, once completed, will be sold  for a hefty 7,000 to 8,000 euros (£6,030 to £6,891 or $7,800 to $8,900) apiece.

It will take Siloe around 18 months to make the first clones, in a painstaking process that started in April when a photographer took detailed snaps of the original in Yale. The copies will be so faithful that every stain, hole, sewn-up tear in the parchment will be reproduced.
It will take Siloe around 18 months to make the first clones, in a painstaking process that started in April when a photographer took detailed snaps of the original in Yale. The copies will be so faithful that every stain, hole, sewn-up tear in the parchment will be reproduced
An informative and well-illustrated article Will the Voynich manuscript finally be cracked? Publisher to create clones of ‘the world’s most mysterious book’ to help experts break its code  has all the details.

If interested in paging through the entire book, here is the pdf file of the entire manuscript: Voynich. Happy decoding!