Saturday, May 24, 2014

Liberal Arts, 16th Century

"The areas of secular education considered liberal have their foundation in classical antiquity and were codified in the medieval period into a distinct set of seven, with two subdivisions. The upper division, the quadrivium, consists of Geometry, Arithmetic, Astronomy, and Music; while the lower division, or trivium, is made up of Grammar, Logic (or Dialectic), and Rhetoric. [..]

The tradition of artistic representation of the Seven Liberal Arts may be traced to the fifth-century work of Martianus Capella; his allegorial treatise, 'De Nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii Libri Novem' ['Satyricon'], describes the Seven Liberal Arts as personified female figures with specific attributes and companions." [source]

Arithmetica -- Haec contemplandis numeris - Cornelis Cort 1565 (Cock, Floris) (Folger)
Arithmetic, a woman, seated at a table inscribes a tablet accompanied by an elderly woman and two male scholars; the elderly woman stands over her and instructs her; her dress is numbered "1234..." and two tomes are labelled "ABRAHAM" and "PYTHAGORAS".
Geometria -- Vestigare geometriae intervalla - Cornelis Cort 1565 (Cock, Floris) (Folger)
Geometry, a woman, uses compasses to measure the globe watched closely by two male figures; various measuring devices are in the foreground together with academic tomes.
Astrologia -- Astrorvm Uraniae Cursus - Cornelis Cort 1565 (Cock, Floris) (Folger)
Astrology, a winged female personification, leans besides a globe with zodiacal star symbols; on the ground are various scientific instruments and sundials etc; an eagle spreads its wings and stands besides a pile of books labelled "ANAXIMENES" etc.
Dialectica -- Vti hominem ratione - Cornelis Cort 1565 (Cock, Floris) (Folger)
Dialectic, a woman, seated on a wicker chair, engages in conversation with an elderly philosopher; she rests her feet on a stack of tomes labelled "ARISTOTELES" etc; a bird sits on her head, an eel is wrapped around her arm and a frog sits on an upright tome.
Grammatica -- Grammatica os tenerum pueri - Cornelis Cort 1565 (Cock, Floris) (Folger)
Grammar, a seated old woman, teaches a young boy standing besides her the rudiments of reading and writing; she holds a long staff, leans over and points to the pages of the book held by the youth; her dress has the letters of the alphabet; in a school room with students and various labelled scholarly tomes.
Rhetorica -- Rhetoricae gratos sermoni -  Cornelis Cort 1565 (Cock, Floris) (BM)
Rhetoric, a seated woman, holding a caduceus, leans over and engages with a seated man writing on a tablet; an elderly man with a long beard places his hands on the shoulder of the younger scholar; two birds, including a parrot, sit on a pile of books labelled "CICERO" etc on the ground.
Musica -- Concentum inter se - Cornelis Cort 1565 (Cock, Floris) (Folger)
Music, a woman, sits at a harpsichord; another female plays a lute and two youths embraced by an elder sing and hold tablets; a man sits at right and plays on a lute and the ground is strewn with instruments; more instruments hang from the wall, including a bagpipe and trombone

The allegorical mannerist images above were engraved by Cornelis Cort (after Frans Floris) and published in Antwerp in 1565 by Hieronymous Cock. Available at Folger Shakespeare Library Image Collection [homepage]

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Book of the Hunt, 15th Century


Attributed to an anonymous Burgundian illuminator known as the Master of Girart de Roussillon, The Book of King Modus and Queen Ratio (after 1455) is a extense and luxury illustrated treatise on hunting. Who was King Modus? - The author patterned this work like the Greek philosophers, as a dialogue between a student and his teacher conversing on the hunting profession. The teacher in this case is embodied in the allegorical figure of King Modus.




Codex is illustrated with a total of 56 lively miniatures, that deserve special mention. Their rich golden decoration is not only intended to illustrate the instructions of the text but also to glorify the pompous lifestyle of the nobility. They intrigue us with a certain liveliness, the expert representation of animals and the authenticity of the luxurious vestments. The close association with nature was intended by the illuminators who attached great importance to authenticity in their depictions. The book thus displays the pinnacle of Flemish art in a work made for a prince of the high nobility." [source :: Adeva Fine Manuscripts]

Direct link to this codex & others related::

Saturday, May 3, 2014

World war one Posters, 20th Century

historic-style war propaganda poster with crusader knight on horseback
Scottish War Savings Committee, Palmerston Place Edinburgh - For Honour's Sake Our Cause Is Just - Join A War Savings Association - Go To A Bank Or Post Office To-Day L1 for 15s 6 Buy War Savings

Between 1914 and 1918, millions of posters were printed and displayed around the world. The U.S. campaigns were the largest: between 2,000 and 3,000 different poster designs were produced for government and civilian agencies. 

I've found an amazing collection of them at Ball State University under a project known as Digital Media Repository, link to this WW1 posters provided here.

colourful poster of vegetables encouraging people to eat less for war effort
Eat Less And let us be Thankful that we have enough to share with those who fight for freedom
{published by United States Food Administration}

heart-string tugging illustration for war effort with nurse holding one end of a stretcher
Hold up your end! War Fund Week One Hundred Million Dollars
Artist: WB King
Published by Form N.Y. 18 Second War Fund - link to US Library of Congress direct site to download a high-res -*.tiff- copy of this poster (it's around 50 Mb!) provided, first link sorry...

satricial illustration of Uncle Sam hammering stake in to middle of Europe
The New Spring Drive - Buy War Savings Stamps and Help Save the Country From Autocracy

amusing illustration of cowering German soldier with absurd rooster trying to break out of huge gold medallion to peck him
Pour la France Versez Votre Or L'Or Combat Pour La VictoireArtist: Jules Abel Faivre
Publisher: Devambez, Paris