Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

A giant statue of Chinese warrior hero Guan Yu

September 24, 2016


This 190-foot tall, 1,450-ton [*] statue represents Guan Yu, a heroic general and warrior who lived during China’s Three Kingdoms period (220-280 AD).   His famous Green Crescent Dragon Blade weighs 150 tons [*].  For comparison, the Statue of Liberty is 111 feet tall and weighs 225 tons.

Guan Yu was so fierce and righteous that he is worshiped as a god.  This statue, one of many in China, was erected last summer in the Chinese city of Jingzhou in Hubei province.  There is an even larger statue, 292 feet high, in his home town of Changping in Shanxi province.

He was a character in the famous Chinese historical novel, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which became the basis of many a Chinese movie and video game and is said to be one of the favorite reading of Mao Zedong.


Theo Jansen and his Strandbeests

June 18, 2016

Theo Jansen, a Dutch physicist turned artist, creates self-propelled kinetic sculptures he calls Strandbeests (Dutch for “beach animals”) out of yellow plastic tubing and other materials that can be bought at a hardware store.

They are powered by the wind.  His more advanced creations store up compressed air for when the wind dies down.  They automatically turn away from water.  And they automatically anchor themselves in the sand when the wind gets too fierce.

He said he thinks of them as a new form of life.  He envisions herds of his creations, roaming the Dutch seashore years after he is gone.  I think it is fair to call them at least a new form of artificial intelligence.

The video above shows Strandbeests in action.  The two below show something of how they work.


Sculptures that look impossible

March 12, 2016


These photographs, which I got from my high school classmate Joyce Mummert Ireland, remind me there are other things in life besides politics.


Click on 25 Mind-Boggling Sculptures That Defy The Laws of Physics (not really) for details and more sculptures.


What to do with an old tree stump

January 15, 2016

Hat tip to Joyce Mummert Ireland and Elizabeth Mummert.

Norman Rockwell’s images of Christmas

December 23, 2015




Is there any artist today who is as well-beloved as Norman Rockwell?

Is there any mass-circulation publication that would showcase an artist’s works as the Saturday Evening Post did Rockwell’s?


Asian illustrations of European fairy tales

November 24, 2015
Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

When you think of classic Western fairy tales, such as Alice in Wonderland or Snow White, Disney’s depiction of the princesses are probably the ones to come into your head first. Korean illustrator Na Young Wu, however, decided to bring a fresh and new perspective into our visualization of the fairy tales by re-drawing them in a traditional Korean style called manhwa.

The artist, who also goes by the name of Obsidian on Twitter, left the iconic features of the princesses and other fairy tale characters, such as the dominating colors and the surroundings, but changed their appearances and clothes so that they reflect the traditional Korean costumes, hairstyles, and nature.


Norman Rockwell on the right to know

October 26, 2015


This Norman Rockwell painting appeared in Look magazine in 1968.

Here is the caption:

We are the governed, but we govern too.  Assume our love of country, for it is only the simplest of self-love.  Worry little about our strength, for we have our history to show for it.

And because we are strong, there are others who have hope.  But watch closely from now on, for those of us who stand here mean to watch those we put in the seats of power.

And listen to us, you who lead, for we are listening harder for the truth that you have not always offered us.

Your voice must be ours, and ours speaks of cities that are not safe, and of wars we do not want, of poor in a land of plenty, and of a world that will not take the shape our arms would give it.

We are not fierce, and the truth will not frighten us.  Trust us, for we have given you our trust.  We are the governed, remember, but we govern too.


Statues in Berlin honor famous whistle-blowers

August 23, 2015


Life-size heroic bronze statues of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning were unveiled in May in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz Square.

“They have lost their freedom for the truth, said Italian sculptor Davide Domino, creator of the artwork.  “They mind us how important it is to know the truth.’

Domino depicted the three whistle-blowers standing on chairs and he added an empty fourth chair for anybody who wants to take a stand and speak (as shown above).

We Americans like to see the world as a battle between the good guys and the bad guys.  It is hard to accept that so much of the world sees us as the bad guys.


New Statue in Germany Illustrates Just How Much the Rest of the World Opposes the U.S. Police State by Jay Syrmopoulos for The Free Thought Project.  Hat tip to Avedon’s Sideshow.

Speaking of remarkable sculptures

July 11, 2015
Statue of Franz Kafka, Prague, Czech Republic

Statue of Franz Kafka, Prague, Czech Republic

Source: When On Earth

Hat tip to my expatriate e-mail pen pal Jack

Remarkable sculptures from around the world

July 11, 2015

Salmon Street, Portland, Oregon


DeVarrtkapeon, Brussels, Belgium

De Varrtkapeon, Brussels, Belgium


Rundle Mall, Adelaide, Australia

Rundle Mall, Adelaide, Australia

Click on 25 of the Most Creative Sculptures and Statues From Around the World for more like the ones above.

The amazing colors of China’s Buddhist temples

June 13, 2015
Monks in Kandze monastery in Ganzi, China

Monks in Kandze monastery in Ganzi, China

chengduWhen a photographer named Colin Miller visited Chengdu, China, he was struck by the colorful beauty of the nearby Buddhist temples and monasteries.  He spent two and a half weeks traveling through small towns in Sichuan province, taking pictures.

My expatriate e-mail pen pal Jack, who called my attention to these photographs, said many of these temples are Tibetan, or at least are dedicated to the school of Buddhism found in Tibet.

The lavish beauty shown in these photos is a contrast to the austere beauty of Zen temples and gardens in Japan.   Any religion that can inspire such beauty must have something good about it.


Beautiful mosques of Shiraz, Iran

May 10, 2015
Interior of Shah Cheragh mosque in Shiraz, Iran

Interior of Shah Cheragh mosque in Shiraz, Iran

More photographs can be seen on this Slate web site.

Courtyard of Nasir al Mulk mosque in Shiraz, Iran

Courtyard of Nasir al Mulk mosque in Shiraz, Iran

When I look at these, I think about the devotion and care that went into creating so much beauty.

Prayer hall of Vaki mosques in Shiraz, Iran

Prayer hall of Vaki mosque in Shiraz, Iran

Source: Atlas Obscura via Slate.

The magnificence of baroque churches

April 5, 2015
Cathedral of Saint Francis, Quito, Ecuador

Cathedral of Saint Francis, Quito, Ecuador

These photographs of Baroque churches in Europe and Latin America were taken by Cyril Porchet as part of a book entitled Seduction.

You don’t have to be a Catholic or even a Christian to appreciate the love, talent and hard work that went into creating such beauty.

Asam Church in Munich, Germany

Asam’s Church in Munich, Germany


Norman Rockwell illustrates the Golden Rule

April 5, 2015

Rockwell_1961_The Golden Rule

‘Autumn … … where every leaf is a flower’

October 19, 2014


Drawing by Melissa Felder, creator of simonandfinn

Quotation by Albert Camus

My street and most of my neighborhood in Rochester, N.Y., is lined with trees.  They are a pleasure to look at, whatever the season, although my favorite is fall.  In the spring, they bud and blossom.  In the summer, they make a green canopy over the streets.  In the fall, they change color.  In the winter, they form a sparkling crystal lattice, or a stark black fractal pattern against the sky.

These trees did not appear all by themselves.  They did not plant themselves.  Somebody years ago took the trouble to plant the trees and create the beauty I now enjoy.   So many of the good things in my life are due to the foresight and work of other people whose names I do not know.

Paper sculpture by Hari and Deepti

October 4, 2014


This is one of a set of back-lit paper sculptures created by artists Deepti Nair and Hankrishnan Panicker based on travels through Moab, Utah and Yellowstone, Wyoming.   I never saw anything quite like this before.


Wonderful Paper Sculptures by Hari and Deepti on Beautiful Life.

Fairytales Come to Life In New Papercut Light Boxes by Hari and Deepti on Bored Panda.

The passing scene: Links & comments 9/7/14

September 6, 2014

Let’s talk about margins by Craig Mod for Medium (via Marginal Revolution).

Consummate craftsmanship consists in paying close attention to details of which the public is not (consciously) aware, such as the margins on book pages.

Craig Mod wrote that craftsmanship springs from a combination of humility and  diligence—humility to accept that you might not have got it right the first time, diligence to keep trying until you do get it right.

One of the best compliments I ever was paid was when I was working on my college newspaper, and overheard one of the printers in the composing room say something to the effect that, this Ebersole kid gives you a lot of trouble, but he makes a nice-looking page.

Why Walking Helps Us Think by Ferris Jabr for The New Yorker.

Scientists have concluded that people do better thinking taking a stroll in pleasant surroundings than they do sitting at a computer.

This is true of me.  I have always found that when I get stuck in my writing, or some other task, things come together when I take a walk.

There’s something about the rhythmic movement of my arms and legs that gets my brain into proper working order.  But scientists have found that it is more than that.  Walking on a treadmill doesn’t product the same effect.

Your IQ isn’t constant: It changes over time by Bryan Roche of  (via Mike the Mad Biologist)

I’ve been reading a lot lately about I.Q. and whether high I.Q. is hereditary.  But the thing to remember is that what your Intelligence Quotient measures is how your ability to take I.Q. tests compares with others in your age group.

An I.Q. of 100 means you are roughly average.  But here’s the thing.  The average has been rising over the years as people get better at passing I.Q. tests.

Art After War by Stacy Bannerman for TruthOut.  (via Bill Harvey)

Military combat is, I am told, one of the most intense experiences a human being can have.  Veterans say that nobody except another veteran can know what it was like, and I am sure this is so.

For many, the experience is traumatic.   Drumming, music, drama, painting, writing—all can provide ways to come to terms with the experience and heal the trauma.

Pinning down prostate cancer by Tim Louis Macaluso for City newspaper of Rochester, N.Y.

The fate of every man, if he lives long enough.

Images of a Thai artist

October 12, 2013


Surrealistic art is not my cup of tea.  I see plenty of irrationality in the world around me, and don’t seek it out in art.  But I like the images in these videos, which promote the book, Transcending Thai Realism: the Art of Somphong Adulyasarapan, by my e-mail pen pal Jack Clontz.   He is a hugely learned scholar and translator who lives in Bangkok, whom I got to know as a fellow member of the Bertrand Russell Society.

His book on Somphong can be ordered through the Museum of Contemporary Art (click on the link) in Bangkok.   The price of the book, 1,600 Thai baht, is about $52 in U.S. currency.

Hayao Miyazaki, the great animator, to retire

September 28, 2013

HIyao Miyazaki, the great Japanese animator, announced earlier this month that he intends to retire from making feature-length films.  I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m not too disappointed, because there are so many of his films that I haven’t yet seen.

He is a great storyteller with a great visual imagination.  The trailers I’ve included in this post hint at it, but don’t fully show it.  His stories are exciting and full of derring-do, but they generally end with reconciliation and never with the annihilation of the losing side.

Spirited Away, whose trailer is shown above, is about a little girl who finds herself trapped in a sort of vacation resort for supernatural beings.  It is highly imaginative, and yet, for me, evokes the feelings of a young person on their first job—having to do things that seem impossible, being subject to the whims of powerful, unreasonable beings, and somehow figuring out how to adapt and function well.

Click on Hayao Miyazaki for his Wikipedia biography.

Click on Hayao Miyazaki to retire, his real reasons for leaving anime in the Asahi Shimbum for background on his retirement.


Pablo Picasso on inspiration

August 4, 2013


Click on Pablo Picasso for more.

The beauty of blackletter calligraphy

March 27, 2013

A short sweet love story from Iran

March 10, 2013

Masouleh, a small Iranian city near the Caspian Sea, is a tourist destination noted for its off-fashioned hospitality and unique architecture. The houses are on steep hills, and the roof of one building can be the courtyard of the one above.  As an American, I am in the habit of thinking of Iran as being off-limits, but the rest of the world doesn’t necessarily think that way.

I had never heard of Masouleh or of Bahram Azimi until I came across this video.  I learned from a Google search that Azimi was born in Tehran in 1967, graduated with a degree in handcraft from Art University of Tehran and teaches animation in the Iranian House of Caricature, and that he has won many awards for his animation, both inside and outside Iran.

Beautiful 350-year-old wooden church in Poland

February 10, 2013

Click on Peace Church in Swidnica to see an astonishingly beautiful 350-year-old wooden church in southwest Poland, which somehow managed to survive both world wars and much else.  Wait for the picture to come into focus, then use the arrows at the bottom of the picture for a 360-degree view of the interior and views of the beautiful ceiling and floor.   Use the full-screen and zoom features for a detailed view—21st century technology that enhances appreciation of 17th century religious art.

Hat tip to Don Montana.

Sita Sings the Blues

January 26, 2013

Nina Paley created this lighthearted animated feature film in 2008.  It mixes events from the great Indian epic The Ramayana, with historical commentary by Indian shadow puppets, blues songs by Annette Hanshaw and scenes from Paley’s own life.

I enjoyed it a lot, although it doesn’t do justice to The Ramayana.  The epic is longer than the Christian Bible or all the Star Trek episodes that have ever appeared on TV or in the movies, and I have never attempted to read the whole thing, but I greatly enjoyed William Buck’s translation and abridgement.

There’s something very sunny and good-natured about the Indian epic, as compared to the Iliad and the Odyssey, at least in the translations I’ve read.  In the Greek epics, the gods are all-powerful but indifferent to human welfare except for certain individuals who happen to gain their favor.  The siege of Troy follows a tragic script established by the gods that no individual can defy.  In the Ramayana and Mahbharata, in contrast, the gods are well-disposed to human beings, but subject to absent-mindedness and a propensity to make binding commitments they later regret.

The Ramayana’s war between the demons on the one hand and the humans, monkeys and bears on the other is caused by the willfulness and pride of a single individual, the demon king Ravana.  At the end, Rama slays Ravana, but then mourns his death.  With his 10 heads, 20 arms and 20 legs, nobody was so perfectly demonic as he was, Rama laments.  You don’t get this in the Greek epic, as when Odysseus kills Penelope’s suitors.


Wood cuts

November 3, 2012

These sculptures by Vincent Kohler show the lumber that can be made from a log of wood.

Click on Vincent Kohler – Sculpture, Peinage for his home page.

Hat tip to