Monday, 26 May 2014

Almost Gothic Art in Spotlight: Deranged Horses

As I mentioned in a previous post, this time I shall write about grotesque horses in portraits. I was on a short holiday in Paris and I visited many art museums, including Louvre, and there were numerous paintings of presumably great men with their horses.

Now, I am not an expert on horses (I have never ridden a horse or at least I do not remember that traumatic episode) but I am pretty sure they are not deranged beasts whose mouth foams and the eyes are wild and maleficent. Unlike my thoughts, that is the general comprehension in most of the paintings starting from 17th century all the way to the time when horses no longer were used on battle field. I took some photos again with my phone's camera so I apologize the less than great quality of photos but here are some deranged horses!

This one above is a detail of a larger painting, it was about stealing some maiden but I can't remember who. As you can see the horse is either foaming like a lunatic or that is smoke coming from it's mouth.

This one with the dead tiger is my personal favorite, the sky is so shockingly blue and the tiger skin is almost vivid and the whole painting is at the same time cute as a candy with all that bright color and still the horse is angry with its 'foaming mouth' which looks to me like it is spitting milk. And there is some random army running towards this demonic horse!This painting is so tacky and slightly grotesque that I can not help but like it.

Unfortunately I did not remember to take pics of the little signs with the paintings' names and artists, so I have no idea who have painted these. But in this one the rider has clearly understood that his stallion ( I have no idea is this a male horse but I do believe people call them stallions) is possessed by a demon or something since he is attacking his companion with a sword.

Need I say anything about this painting? The man looks like a saint because the helmet is made much shinier than other parts of the painting and the feather of the helmet looks like a halo. The horse does not seem to like it at all. The back ground is pleasingly grim.

What do these horses have to do with gothic art? Not so much on the first look but when you think about the etymology of the word 'goth' which originates from those brutal tribes that molested the ancient Rome, I believe there is a resemblance with the words I used to describe these beastly horses. These horses hit my twisted sense of humor and I myself value that sense of humor a big part of my identity as a goth. Therefore I could very well integrate a painting of a demonic horse to otherwise gothic decor.

When I was visiting St. Petersburg there were some bizarre paintings of dogs attacking almost everything. I did a post about them and this strange fascination to beastly horses comes from the same part of my personality as the infatuation of those ghastly hounds.

Next week I shall return to the 21st century and to the art of photography. Thanks for reading!

Oh, and a day or two after I visited Louvre and the horses I saw some live ones too! It was a parade to celebrate the end of the World War Two.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Greetings from Paris, Catacombs and a Greek tragedy

It has been disgustingly long time since I have posted. The fault is that I have had the last exams and essays to return (well, who hasn't in the spring?) I have also been on a holiday in Paris and I have moved to a different city, at least for the summer! So you can imagine that it has been a very busy month!

Here are some photos (taken with a phone so I apologize the poor quality!) from the Catacombs of Paris and a few pics of the National Opera of Paris, where I went to see a ballet Orphée et Eurydice at the Palais Garnier. I went there an hour before the start of the ballet because then the tickets are cheap. Of coarse the tickets that are available at that hour are the crappiest places, where you can see only 50% of the stage IF you are LUCKY. It was still worth the 10 euro fee, the music and the singers were awesome, the whole set design and costumes were simple and modern and the dance was amazing (at least the parts that I saw ;) ).

If you can't remember at the moment, the story of Orpheus and Eurydice is a tragedy in which the two main characters fall in love but the lady dies. Orpheus travels to hell to retrieve his love. He has the ability to play music so beautifully that the ruler of Hell promises that Orpheus may take his love but Eurydice must walk behind him and Orpheus is not allowed to look back to make sure she really is following. Otherwise she will be damned to hell for eternity. Well, Orpheus is unable to resist the need of a little peek and loses Eurydice for all eternity. He wonders the land in grief and in the end a gang of Maenads (female followers of Dionysus, basically ravers of the Antiquity) bump into Orpheus and the ladies tear him into pieces.

When I visited all those art museums in Paris, I got this feeling that the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice is or was really important to the French because there were about hundred paintings of this legend in the Louvre alone. Mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries but I am not sure if I remember correctly.

The catacombs were worth the waiting. You have to wait in line at least one hour to get there but the catacombs are extremely fascinating!

'Stop! Here lies the empire of death'

I did not take selfies during my holiday except this one because two American tourists provoked me too to take 'a selfie with a dead person!' :D What a lovely macabre sense of humor they had!

Next time something about art: Grotesque paintings of horses!