Friday, July 11, 2008
The Goetia reports of the demon Andras: "He is a Great Marquis, appearing in the Form of an Angel with a Head like a Black Night Raven, riding upon a strong Black Wolf, and having a Sharp and Bright Sword flourished aloft in his hand. His Office is to sow Discords. If the Exorcist have not a care, he will slay both him and his fellows. He governeth 30 Legions of Spirits."
Some explanation may be useful in clarifying this description. By a night raven, an owl is intended. Black wolves were once fairly common in Europe. Both wolf and owl were considered to be animals of evil.
The magician performing the evocation is called the "exorcist" in the English translation of the Goetia preserved in manuscript in the British Library (Sloane ms. 2731). We would not apply the term exorcist to the magician today since the magician is calling the spirit forth to visible appearance, rather than driving it away. However, the term exorcist was once used more generally to describe someone who commanded spirits. Magicians traditionally had at least one assistant, usually more than one, to help them in their rituals. They stood inside a magic circle for protection -- if the evoked demon could tempt or deceive the magician or his assistants to step out from the circle, the demon could then injure the careless human beings.
Friday, July 4, 2008
HET LANDSCHAP MET DE PUNTIGE ROTS EN DE GEVORKTE BOOM Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet / 10,2 x 18 cm
His posthumous reputation was boosted by the Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst (Introduction to the High School of Painting) of Samuel van Hoogstraten which presented him rather as a Romantic genius avant la lettre, lonely, poor and misunderstood, based mostly on his etchings.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
It was a feeling so swift and final. When i first saw his painting "The Smokers" the overpowering brilliance of such a simple scene bowled me over.
The Smokers, probably ca. 1636Adriaen Brouwer (Flemish, 1606?–1638)Oil on wood; 18 1/4 x 14 1/2 in. (46.4 x 36.8 cm) The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The life of the people was the central theme of the work of Adriaen Brouwer. He combined the subjects of Pieter Bruegel the Elder and the stylistic influences of Frans Hals and Rubens with surprising and lively results. He specialized in genre scenes, which took place in shabby, dirty, small taverns and inns, visited by peasants, beggars, tramps… they drink, eat, play cards and dice, smoke, sing, quarrel, fight. Spirit of vitality and careless trouble-making is combined with bitterness, emptiness, and grotesque. Brouwer is an outstanding master of composition. There are usually two planes in his pictures: in the foreground is the main compact group, in the background, in semidarkness of a tavern, are shadowy figures of other visitors, who mind their own business; with the help of light and shadow the artist achieves the effect of deep space. The artist is an interesting colorist; his canvases are usually in olive-brown palette, the background is in airy grey and yellowish shades, the clothes of the people in the foreground are in color harmony (spots of faded greyish-blue, cream and dusty-pink shades). Brouwer’s technique is free and artistic. He also painted a number of extremely important works as a portraitist and landscape artist.
Brouwer’s work stands alone in Flemish painting school. The works of A. Ostade, who imitated his style, look too “well-behaved” and bright. After Bruegel, Brouwer is considered the foremost painter of bucolic themes, the greatest collection of 16 of his works is in the the Alte Pinakothek at Munich."
The Bitter Draught. c. 1635-38. Oil on panel. 47 x 35 cm. Staatliche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt; Germany.
Scene at the Inn. c. 1624-25. Oil on panel. 34.8 x 26 cm. Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Portrait of a Man with a Pointed Hat. Oil on panel. 19.5 x 12 cm. Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands