30 August 2010

"Make Every Line Count" - Pedro de Lemos

Another student of Arthur Wesley Dow's at Pratt Institute in New York, Pedro de Lemos (1882-1945) is known as an artist of the west coast, particularly the Monterey Peninsula, on view in these woodblock prints, made the 1920s. 

What gives the cypress trees of Monterey their sublime aspect is the way that they make visible the sculpting power of the wind that bends the trees and erodes the soil, making them cling to the cliff sides. There is drama in these images and a sense of impermanence in this large, rocky landscape, suggested by the artist's rather romantic titles.

Pedro de Lemos was instrumental in organizing the graphic arts at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. He taught design and architecture at Stanford University and was the first director of the Carmel Art Association in 1927. He also founded the Allied Artists Guild in Menlo Park. The stucco home he designed for himself at Palo Alto, Hacienda de Lemos, has been lovingly restored to his original intentions.

1. Old Pines At Monterey, c. 1915, American Federation of the Arts, NYC.
2. The Golden Hours,  1920, from, Applied Art, Pacific Press Publishing Association.
3. Top Of The Hill, no date, American Federation of the Arts, NYC.
4.Sleepy Heads - undated, Trotter Galleries, Carmel, CA>

28 August 2010

All The Planets In Heaven, All The StarsIn The Sky: Gaspara Stampa

"All the planets in heaven, all the stars,
gave my lord their graces at his conception;
all gave him their special gifts,
to make one perfect mortals man.
Saturn gave loftiness of understanding,
Jove the desire for noble deeds,
Mars more skill in war than any other,
Phoebus Apollo elegance and wit.
Venus gave him beauty and gentle ways,
Mercury eloquence; but the moon alone
made him too freezing cold for me.
Every one of those rare graces
makes me burn for his brilliant flame,
and one alone has turned him into ice."
- Gaspara Stampa, from Gaspara Stampa, translated from the Italian by Sally Purcell, Greville Press: 1984.

One of the great poets of the Italian Renaissance and, I think, the equal of Petrarch, Gaspara Stampa (1523-1554) was born in Padua and grew up in Venice, where the Stampa family home became a salon where Gaspara and her sister gave musical performances together. During her short life only a few poems were published; most circulated in manuscript form. It was Gaspara's sister who arranged for the publication of Rime, a collection more than 300 poems, after Gaspara died.
Giuliano d'Arrigo (1367-1446) created this fresco for the Sacristy of San Lorenzo at Florence. It shows the night sky over Florence as it looked on 4 July 1442. Visit Museo Galilio here.