Well, despite pledges to blog lighter and more often, another ten days has gone by and I've not done so. In fact this isn't down to a lack of material; I keep finding things to blog about and not being able to choose between them so I leave it a bit longer, then more bits and pieces accumulate, and I can't get around to stitching them together...
Another reason I have been neglecting things here is that, despite (another despite) my eschewing of online crazes and social media other than good old fashioned blogging, and my profession of ignorance on such matters, I have acquired a consuming Pinterest habit. (Is Pinterest social media? It doesn't quite strike me as such, but I'm not sure). I decided I'd try it, and also Tumblr, again and see if I couldn't make some use of them.
Tumblr I still can't really get a handle on, partly because its use as a way of collating and re-blogging content already on the web seems to be hampered by the fact that you can only post one image at a time using URLs, and downloading and uploading again just seems too laborious (but perhaps I'm missing something), and I no longer generate enough photographic content of my own to supply a new photo blog, so I think my efforts there are largely dead in the water.
But Pinterest I do like, though how long my current preoccupation with it will last I don't know. I won't go into the details of how it works, since you presumably either know already (I'm always late to the party with these things), or you can find out from the link, or you aren't interested anyway. I like that the pinned images link back to their original source, though of course the accreditation is only as genuine as the site they come from, and there is grousing about copyright infringement, but at least there's an attempt at traceability. And it seems to offer the possibility of making something a bit more constructive and selective of the time sink that can be web browsing, though of course it also prompts one to do even more of the same. I've tidied up quite a lot of the stray, out-of-sight-out-of-mind bookmarks I've accumulated, and a visual note in the form of an image is a much better reminder than a textual one. I'm also enjoying fantasy travel making collections of places I'd like to go and things I'd like to see. I like the aesthetic of it and find it quite accessible and easy to use, and though my involvement and collections are still fairly limited, I've taken the step of adding a button to the sidebar here (even though it's red and I don't much care for red on my blog), and from time to time I might bring stuff here from there, as well as vice-versa.
So, following the 'Attributes of Music' still life by Anne Vallayer Coster I found and posted here the other day, I decided to set up a still life board. I find myself particularly drawn to still life involving food, and after the bread-based subject matter of the last post, I've been looking especially, though not exclusively, to paintings with bread in.
Anne Vallayer-Coster had an interesting history, a rare woman among men in 18th century painting circles and well-regarded, and although a protégée and sometime friend of Marie Antoinette, she managed not to finish with her head on a pike and the rest of her god knows where and survived the Revolution. However, despite being somewhat taken up by the Empress Josephine and later by the restored monarchy, her career was never quite the same again. But survive she did, and produced a consistent body of work over quite a long life. She did good bread:
and other things too, such as musical instruments and coral, always in that assertive, accurate, boldly lit style, characteristic of the Enlightenment, which apparently Foucault considered to be an 'encompassing stare and classification of appearances [which] stood for repressive control'. (I only know this from the Wiki article, I don't know anything about Foucault really, either the one with the pendulum or the one without).
Another still life painter who did some good bread was Luis Egidio Meléndez.
He too was somewhat unlucky in his career, should have prospered more and had better patronage, but both he and his father picked quarrels with the wrong people, he died indigent. The unusual thing about his paintings, compared with those of 17th century still life painters like Zurbaran, is the low viewpoint, and the grouping and lighting, which produces a sense of immediacy and involvement, and again that Enlightment thing about seizing and understanding. Most of his work is still in Spain, in the Prado in Madrid.
Just one more that I love, this one from an unknown 18th century Italian artist:
much more naïve and less realistic, it almost could have been painted on a biscuit tin, but I like it because it contains an element which, like Anne V-C's steam in the first painting, would in fact have been rapid and fugitive,not still at all: the blue tit perching on the glassy grapes and eyeing up those big chunks of white fat in the salami. Reminds me of how they used to peck through the foil milk bottle tops to get to the cream on the gold top milk. I suppose that doesn't happen any more?
So, I think I may try to put up a shorter post every day for a few days. This should also help me to catch up with myself on my bid to accomplish a thousand posts by my seventh blogging anniversary. So see you tomorrow!
*A Tumblr girl, your honour, to summarise several definitions from the Urban Dictionary, somewhere I really shouldn't spend too much time, is a pretty but narcissistic young creature, usually but not exclusively female (I think Tumblr boys exist too, or boys who are called Tumblr girls), who is rather over-fond of taking pictures of herself and posting them on her Tumblr blog. They are 'hipsters' (a word which seems to be current again) and tend to be rather earnest and 'sensitive', and they prefer Tumblr to Facebook. I think I've visited some of their blogs, they're actually rather nice.