Local Heart, Global Soul

February 9, 2014

Inspiration In Gold As A Parting Gift…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Two days ago I made a post about the amazing  interior decoration of the former winter Palace of Queen regent Emma of the Netherlands,  located on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague.

The M. C. Escher museum has been fabulous and visiting friend “Velvetine” and I have drooled over every room and exhibit… in fact there is so much to see in these complex works of art that I think if I came every week I could still discover new details each time  I looked.

Now, for my final post here in the museum I’m returning to the architectural detail of the rooms that hold these ingenious artworks, the beautiful detail that is so different to, and yet matches and compliments the detail found in M.C. Escher’s works.

Carved marble, wood, ornamental plasterwork and gilding are full of ornate detail and exude craftsmanship of a bygone age and as usual I’m adding these images to my  electronic “inspiration” files so that I can use them to inspire me in future artwork projects of my own.  I love patterns and shapes, I love how the fluid images in nature have been transformed into fluid images in plaster, the acanthus leaf decorations and the perfectly formed marble flowers.

I’m not too mobile at the moment, but if I had been then I would surely be tempted to be here often, very often, and maybe one day in the future  I might be found here with a sketchbook in hand, trying to capture details like the marble blossoms in one the fireplaces… One day when my concentration skills are better and when my foot is less  painful and in better working order. Until then I will look at these photographs and dream.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 8, 2014

Bending Minds As We Rapidly Shrink And Grow…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m documenting my 2012 summer visit to the M.C. Escher Museum located in the former Queen regent Emma’s former winter Palace in the Lange Voorhout in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Our Singaporean friend “Velvetine”  is visiting with me and we are finding so much to see, both in Escher’s works and of the palace interior.

One thing that I particularly like about the museum is that the upper level of the Palace contains an interactive section where visiting members of the public can try out a few Escheresque mind-bending  tricks of their own.

Even the entrance door into this area is actually an illusion.

From a distance there seems to be a large black box suspended from the ceiling by the doorway…  but in fact these are strategically placed black lines in the room behind and if you stand in the right spot in the room then all the lines “join”  up to form the solid square that you are tricked into thinking  is really there. Part of one of the rooms has also been built so that there is an optical illusion, so people on one side appear unusually tall and their companions on the other side of the room appear to shrink in size. There’s the possibility to have a funny photograph taken to take with you afterwards (Velvetine and I didn’t do it) and to that end there was a “collection” board where the photographs were displayed for collection by participants afterwards. I loved the quirky poses people used whilst having fun here…

Then we made our way to another surreal room where moving  Escher images “evolved’ and “morphed”  on massive wall screens in front of us… it seems that everywhere we go in this building we just just keep smiling more and more…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 7, 2014

Palatial Inspiration: Dreamy Decoration…

This post is made up of photographs taken during  my visit to the M.C. Escher museum  in the summer of 2012. The exhibition is located in the former winter Palace of Queen regent Emma, on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague,  The Netherlands and the interior is ornate and full of beautiful patterns. I love architectural detail,  ornate patterns and want to store some of the images on my blog to use as future artist inspiration in some of my own art work. For my readers it is however, an amazing look at the beauty of the former winter Palace…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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February 6, 2014

Banking On The Notes Doesn’t Always Pay The Bills…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another post from my 2012 summer travels at home and abroad. I’m visiting the M.C. Escher exhibition in The Hague, located on the Lange Voorhout in the former winter Palace of Queen regent Emma of the Netherlands.

In the former Library of the palace can be found an amazing array of  Escher’s  notebooks, sketchbooks, portfolio’s and handwritten notes.  In his pre-digital age everything was worked out on paper,  and since there are sketched ideas, proof drawings, drafts and final copies of various artworks on display, we get  an amazing insight into the thought process, and how the drawings were executed to produce the final product.

An information board also tells me:

In 1953 the Dutch Central Bank invited Escher among other artists to design new Dutch banknotes. He had to comply with strict security demands for the banknotes. The photographs show how ingenious his designs are. Escher and the printer Johan Enschedé en Zonen discussed the dates of planned meetings about the changes that had to be made. In the end Eschers proposals were not used. Once again the attention to detail makes me drool…  even for a prolific artist like Escher, the hours taken to complete these works must be enormous.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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February 5, 2014

The Strange Mixture Of The Real and Surreal…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m busy documenting our travels and adventures of the summer of  2012 with visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine”. We have already seen little snippets of England, Belgium, France, Luxembourg  and Germany, and now we are back in The Netherlands checking out the M.C. Escher Museum in The Hague.

One of the information boards inside the museum tells me:

Escher played mysterious games with mirrors and mirror images. He exploited reflections in various ways, including a large number of self portraits, which always involve the use of a mirror.

Escher’s first such work was made in 1917 when he was 19 years  old. He often worked with a convex mirror. the distortion produced by the mirror creates a broad view of the surrounding. Intriguingly, the space behind the artist is revealed.

In “Three Spheres” Escher used reflection to represent various materials with great accuracy. (This is a traditional element in Dutch art, one in which seventeenth-century artists excelled.

As a graphic artist, Escher did the same with in a lithograph) the central silver sphere reflects Escher Escher and the room: the glass sphere mainly reflect the windows in the wall at the side: the stone sphere doesn’t reflect any image at all. All three are reflected in different ways in the table top.

In “Rippled Surface, Dewdrop and Puddle” a second look reveals that the reflections are natural. The surroundings are not directly visible: the reflection of the tree branches in “Rippled Surface” for example are only distorted by in the ripples in the water. Escher entices the viewer into perceiving and impossible situation as a reality. Often a closer look is needed to realise that what you see can not be real.

Escher was constantly imagining new combinations t take the viewer by surprise. He wanted to “draw attention to something that is impossible”. he said, while working on a commission in 1960, that in order to achieve this “there has to be a degree of mystery, but one that wasn’t immediately apparent”. He even spoke of “trickery” where two sight lines would be combined in one work.

Around Queen regent Emma’s winter Palace there are many similar themes: the arrangement of old and new, modern art in the courtyard garden and historical decorative plasterwork on the palace ceilings and around fireplaces,  Escher’s work’s where you look and know you are being fooled but are uncertain just how. There’s a juxtaposition of art and aesthetics in the Palace that I find truly fascinating. Together: ornate glass windows and mind bending art… rock on!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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February 4, 2014

With The Frog Or The Bird’s Eye Perspective: Italy Makes An Impression…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m continuing my yesterday’s post where I am detailing some of  Dutch artist M.C. Escher’s early works, may of which were done in Italy, a country Escher fell in love with and later moved to until his conflict with the ideas of Fascism forced him to move with his family to Switzerland, then Belgium and then back to The Netherlands.

One of the information boards in the Escher Museum located in the former winter palace of Queen Regent Emma of the Netherlands, on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague tells me:

Early in his career, Escher experimented with perspective by choosing an unusually high or low vantage point to draw from. The mountains in Italy were perfectly suited to this. For “San Gimignano”, “Bonifacio”and “Temple of Segesta”, he selected an extremely low vantage point, from a valley. As a result the viewer looks up at an object located far above. This is known as “the frog’s perspective”.

In other works Escher chose a very high vantage point, for example in “Morano”, “Ravello”and “Calvi”, the fishing town seen from the citadel. In these prints the viewer looks down at the subject of the work. This is known at as the “Bird’s eye perspective”.

Escher never used the “panoramic view” so popular with other artists at the time. When in 1939 Escher made prints of Delft commissioned by the Dutch Government, he climbed up the tower of the Nieuwe Kerk to show the marketplace from a dizzying perspective.

The viewer’s eye is led downwards rather than out towards the broad surroundings.

In Escher’s time (more specifically, between 1920 and 1940), many European artists played with extreme forms of perspective. Giorgio de Chirico in Italy, Carel Willink in the Netherlands and Ludwig Kirchner in Germany had been using perspective as a stylistic tool since 1910. but their most predecessor was Giovanni Battista Piranesi, who in the 18th Century portrayed spaces using the most bizarre perspectives. 

Personally I think that Italy and the early works Escher did there, and the discovery of  the possibilities  that these altered perspectives offered, heavily influenced Escher’s later works for which he became world famous: the seemingly  “impossible” ascending and descending staircases and waterfalls and the transitional spaces works like “water and air” where fish become birds and visa versa.

Certainly it may be disputed that Escher didn’t always stick strictly to reality, but in fact I have found that as a general rule most artists don’t… it’s impossible to see every twig and blade of grass in a landscape, real world “litter”  in the broader sense of inconvenient  buildings, people, or the distractions of everyday items are often left out of compositions for cleaner lines, better perspective, balance, light, mood or colour. In a way I love these earlier works even more than the more famous later ones because they document the source of inspiration and reveal that Escher’s genius about “thinking outside the box” was a quirky personality trait present right from the start.

I love quirky and I adore detail… this won’t be my last visit here…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Temple of Segesta, Sicily”, 1932 (wood engraving) Note: the block in printing is always opposite to the final printed image of the first photo in this post.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Pineta of Calvi, Corsica”, 1933 (woodcut in light grey, dark grey and black, printed from three blocks)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Study for Atrani, Coast of Amalfi”,1931 (black chalk,pencil)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Study for “Atrani, Coast of Amalfi”,1931 (black chalk, pencil)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Calvi, the Fishing Town seen from the Citadel, Corsica”, 1933 (wood-engraving)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Nocturnal Rome: Basilica of Constantine”, 1934 (woodcut)

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“Delft, Nieuwe Kerk”, 1939 (woodcut)

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“Delft, Roofs”, 1939 (woodcut)

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“Inside St. Peters’ 1935, (wood engraving)

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“Venice”, 1936 (woodcut)

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“Venice”, 1936 (woodcut) Detail…

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“Porta Maria dell’ Ospidale, Ravello”, 1932 (wood engraving)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“La Mezquita, Córdoba”, 1936 (black and white chalk)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Coast of Amalfi” (composition) 1934, (woodcut)

http://www.escherinhetpaleis.nl/

February 3, 2014

Take A Stone, or Wood, Ink And Paper: And Create More Than The Sum Of The Parts…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m continuing my series of blog posts about M.C. Escher and the permanent exhibition that’s located on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague, The Netherlands in the former winter palace of Queen regent Emma of the Netherlands.

I visited here in the summer of 2012 with visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” and together we are enjoying both Escher’s works and the beautiful palace they are house in.

There are a few information boards placed around the exhibition and from them I find out:

M.C. Escher was a graphic artist, specialising in woodcuts and lithographs. Woodcuts are made by cutting a design into a block of wood, lithographs by drawing an image on a specially treated flat stone. A woodcut is a form of relief printing: a gouge is used to carve out parts of a wood block leaving a raised image. Ink is applied to these raised parts and then a sheet of paper is pressed onto the inked block. A lithograph is a form of flat or offset printing: the ink is applied to the flat stone and paper then placed on top.

Escher and the natural world: From early on nature played an important role in Escher’s work.

In itself this is unsurprising: young artists base their work on what they see around them and nature has traditionally been one of the first subjects to present itself. Escher’s family always lived in a relatively rural setting. He was born in Leeuwarden and his parents moved to Arnhem when he was four years old. 

Between 1921 and 1935 he made long trips every year through a remote part of Italy, the country he eventually moved to in 1925, The Italian landscape and nature in general continued to captivate him all his life. As his graphic work shows, Escher was an attentive observer, yet every one of this landscapes gives rise to the question of whether it corresponds to reality.

As early as 1940, Escher’s friend, the art critic Hein ‘s Gravensande remarked that Escher synthesised what he saw, he meant that Escher cheated just a little when making a print.

That last line made me smile:  after all what artist doesn’t use a little “artistic licence”? Transposing a creative idea onto a flat piece of canvas, paper or other medium is a difficult enough task,  and we all see the world in our own way. Capturing that view in a limited space and in a few lines is a daunting task,  carving it into a block of wood is far harder then it looks, the beauty is that in the finished print we can see the essence of that Escher wants us to see… it’s more than paper, wood and ink… it’s amazing.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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“Witte poes” (White cat) 1910, Woodcut.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Lichtende zee”  (Phosphorescent sea) 1933, Lithograph.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Zonnebloemen” (Sunflowers) 1918, Linoleum cut.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Het Paradijs” (Paradise) 1921, Woodcut, counterproof. ( …very much reminds me of Henri Rousseau’s work)

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“Drie werelden” (Three worlds) 1955, Lithograph

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February 2, 2014

With The Flick Of A Switch: A Glittering Array Of Artworks…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this post about our 2012 summer visit to the M.C. Escher Museum in the Hague, I was surprised to see that this is actually a sort of exhibition within an exhibition, within a Palace that’s an exhibit in itself.

The main draw cards are naturally the Escher works, and then the Palace in which they are displayed but here there is added value for your entry fee because the chandeliers in many of the rooms are also works of art in their own right. Wikipedia tells me:

In the rooms of the museum are fifteen chandeliers made by the Rotterdam artist Hans van Bentem.

The artist designed these especially for the museum, with some references to the work of Escher and the Palace. In the ballroom, a star chandelier is endlessly reflected in the two mirrors. In other rooms there are chandeliers such as a shark, a skull, a spider, and a sea horse.    Ok, I’ll have to admit that I’m no fan of spiders, especially big ones and they don’t really come bigger than this, but credit where it’s due, these really are impressive.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I tried getting an ïnfinity” sort of photograph of the book and star chandeliers reflected in the two mirrors but mostly only succeeded in getting myself in the frame too, over and over and over…

The other difficulty was that the rooms were never completely empty anyway so there were always other people in the photographs and clearly to  succeed I needed a tripod, a remote cable to take the photographs,  rooms sans tourists and talent enough to make amazing photos of the reflections  after that.

Since I lacked all four items for success I did my best with two shots, one on an angle showing the tops of fellow tourists heads (but not my own) and another taken at a right angle showing the star chandelier with the mirrors on the walls either side of it.

It’s as good as I can get it and on this day that will have to do.  This ended up being a long photographic post because these chandeliers really made my creative juices sparkle, spider and all…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escher_Museum

http://www.escherinhetpaleis.nl/

February 1, 2014

It’s All A Matter Of Perspective…


(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page from my diary documenting our travels and adventures both at home and abroad.

In this post from summer of 2012 I’m visiting the M.C. Escher exhibition on the Lange Voorhout in the Hague, The Netherlands.

Escher wasn’t a very good student academically speaking, but  excelled in drawing,  this area of the exhibition deals with his works that trick the brain into thinking they are real and the devices that Escher used to achieve these illusions.

There are a few information boards around the exhibition, This one tells us:

Space is a flexible concept in the work of M.C. Escher. In addition to compelling sight lines as in “Castrovalva”, he combined still lifes with reflection or panorama to create impossible situations, often so cunningly that it is not immediately obvious that something strange is happening in the print.

In “Still Life With Mirror” and “Still Life and Street”,  Escher created what he called “impossible situations”: different spaces that run seamlessly into one another.

In Still Life with Mirror he brings the street outside into the room through the reflection in the mirror on the dressing table. He disguises this impossible transition by reflecting object in the foreground, like the toothbrush, toothpaste and glass, in the street scene.

In this way he combines the perspective of the room with that of the street.

In the slightly tilted mirror the transition fome inside to outside is barely noticeable.  In Still Life and Street” the table in the foreground runs imperceptibly into another Italian Street.  Here too, you have to look twice to see what is happening.

In another website the author makes a very insightful point…

M.C. Escher is a remarkable artist because he had both the mathematical as well as artistic abilities to create optical illusions and other mind provoking pictures.  He belonged to no art movement of the time, although he was in touch with what was happening in mathematics, showing he was more conscience of the mathematics in his work than he was with the art itself.  With this being a possibility, perhaps M.C. Escher was more of a mathematician than he was an artist.

Personally I’d prefer to modify this idea : Rather than being more of a mathermation than an artist, I think he was an artist who’s most major influence and passion was maths. Mathematics drove him, and just like any artist who has an intense passion for a particular subject, evidence of that passion  will leak out of the soul of all of the artist’s works in style, form, composition, colour, mood and message.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

https://sites.google.com/a/saintannsny.org/peerpoints-vol-4/m-c-escher

http://www.escherinhetpaleis.nl/

January 31, 2014

A Very Palatial Art Exhibition…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another post detailing our travels and adventures during the summer of 2012.

Regular readers will know that as usual we are packing in as many new experiences as we can manage… new places, new sights, cultural and culinary experiences, what’s not to like?

For privacy reasons I never advertise on my blog when I’m away from home…

…and of course sorting the thousands of photographs I take and then doing research for various topics afterwards takes time so I have to confess I currently have at least two years worth of blog material on my hard drive.

I hope you settle into your most comfortable chair and join me for the journey ahead.

Although I try and make the annual sculpture exhibition in the Lange Voorhout every year, it  isn’t  actually the only reason I have bought our visiting friend “Velvetine” to  this address. She doesn’t know it yet, but there is a building at the corner of this “L” shaped street  that is my next surprise destination for her.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve just called this address a “building” but in fact it’s rather more than that: it’s an art gallery that’s housed in a former Palace, one that was once upon a time  the winter palace home to  the Queen Mother Emma of the Netherlands.

The exhibition we have come to see is one that’s on permanent display, and for good reason: this is Lange Voorhour 74,  home of  Maurits Cornelis Escher, also known as M.C. Escher collection, called “Escher in Het Paleis” (Escher in the Palace).

Now it’s time to take a detailed look at more of this work and find out more about the man, and Queen Mother Emma’s former winter Palace that the collection of his works is housed in.

I’ll start with a few of the details of the rooms themselves: naturally since this is now primarily a public art gallery most of the furniture has been removed, but in places they have projected old photographic images onto the walls to show what the room looked like in days gone by.

I previously wrote about wanting to visit this exhibition:  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/new-462/  and Escher also featured on my blog when he was one of the chosen artists who had works displayed as a detailed sandcastle  piece here:  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/new-304/.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

escher outside inside 2l (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.escherinhetpaleis.nl/

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