Monday, June 30, 2008

Art and a Cyber-Cafe

I've been thinking that I should make a post on how much I like Pre-Raphaelite Art. So, ta da! Ok, let's begin.
The Pre-Raphaelites were very controversial in their time, not for the content nor stories of their works, but because of their attention to detail and untraditional style. Some of them formed a brotherhood and made it a point to create works that had meaning, to study what is natural, and not to follow the rigid teachings of the art schools in that day.
Many of their paintings are stunningly realistic. And I find them to be very romantic. Every Pre-Raphaelite painting (excluding portraits of course) is an allegory, based on a poem, or has a background story to it. I just love art with meaning!

Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton
I had to put this one first, because this was the painting that first caused me to realize Pre-Raphaelite art. It reminds me of The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson even though nothing like this ever happened in the book. I guess its because that's how I imagined the characters to be in the story.
Feeling Very Undancey by Arthur Rackham
This is more of an illustration than it is a painting. (Its from the book Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. ) I remember checking out old books from the library just because they had illustrations like this one. If the stories were interesting enough I'd read them. But I spent most of my time just staring at the pictures imagining the characters moving. (occasionally I'd imagine myself as one of the characters |^-^|)

Thisbe by John William Waterhouse
This painting is based on the Greek/Roman myth of Pyramus and Thisbe. They loved each other, but their parents did not approve. Their houses were adjoining and in the dividing wall between them was a crack that no one but them had taken notice of. So at a certain time of the day they would whisper through the wall to each other. Eventually they planned to elope. They decided to meet by the white mulberry tree outside of town. She arrived first. But while she was waiting a lion prowled by. She fled so quickly that her veil fell off her head. Pyramus arrived to find the lion tearing at her veil. In anguish he berated himself for not being there to protect her and blamed himself for her death. So under the mulberry tree he plunged his sword into his heart. His blood stained the mulberry tree and seeped into its roots so that the fruit also bore the same color. Thisbe came back to the tree later, not wanting Pyramus to think she had decided not to come. When she noticed Pyramus lying there she realized that he had killed himself for her sake. Wanting to be as brave as he, she followed suit and stabbed herself with the same sword through her heart. They were buried together and even to this day the mulberry tree retains the memory of their love by producing purple berries.

Miranda/ The Tempest by John William Waterhouse
Now this painting is one of my favorites. I actually have it set as the background for my desktop. It is based on Shakespeare's The Tempest. The Duke of Milan, sorcerer Prospero, and his daughter, Miranda, were secretly set adrift in a boat by Prospero's traitorous brother. After being stranded on an island for 12 years Prospero saw his brother's ship sailing in the distance. So he rose up a tempest to run the ship aground. The rest of the story gets very long and complicated. But I can tell you that Prospero and Miranda get a happy ending.

Lady of Shallot by John William Waterhouse
Now, I remember the Lady of Shallot from reading Anne of Green Gables when I was little. But this painting is really based on the poem by Tennyson. Its about a lady under a curse whose been made to spin a web while facing a wall in her lonely castle. She can only view the outside world through a mirror in which she can catch glimpses through the window behind her. One day she sees Sir Lancelot riding by. His appearance affects her so much that she turns to look out at him. This activates her curse. She soon acquires a boat and ascribes her name onto its side. Then she boards it and makes her way down the river to Camelot to Sir Lancelot. However, she dies before she can get there. The people of the city see her floating by. Lancelot also sees her and offers a prayer that grace be given to her. Its a sad poem. I like it. Its romantic. In a sad way. You should read it.

Godspeed/ A Lady's Favor by Edmund Blair Leighton
Another Knight and his lady. This painting looks soft to me. The flowers in the corner, the clothing and drapery, her hair, and the way he looks at her. Its sad and happy at the same time. Happy because you can see how much they both care for each other, and Sad because you know he's going off to fight. Godspeed brave Knight!

Dolce Far Niente by John William Godward
The title is Italian for "pleasing inactivity." This originated from the phrase, "it is sweet to do nothing." She makes the floor look comfortable. This painting makes me want to grab a furry rug and take a nap on the floor. It also makes me want to have a comfy billowing dress to wear while I do it. (And that's saying a lot because I don't like to sleep in the daytime and I don't usually find dresses very comfortable.)

Danae by John William Waterhouse
I like this painting because it is part of one of my favorite mythology stories. Danae was a princess. Her father, the king wanted a son so he consulted an oracle. The oracle told him that he'd be killed by his daughter's son. He locked his daughter in a tower to prevent this. But She had a baby boy anyways by Zeus. The king found out. Because he was afraid to anger the gods by killing her, he had her and the baby thrown into the sea in a wooden chest. (I guess this way the blame would have been put on Poseidon for letting her drown.) But Poseidon didn't let them drown. They were taken in by another Grecian king.
That's not the part I like, though. I like the story of Danae's son, Perseus, life. He is the one who killed the evil Medusa and rescued Andromeda from a sea-monster. Perseus flew to Andromeda with the winged sandals that the gods had given him. He, then, freed her from the chains that bound her to the rock (she was given as a sacrifice) and married her. Then Perseus fulfilled the prophesy of the oracle and used Medusa's head to turn his grandfather and co. into stone. This is also one of the few Greek mythology stories in which the husband and wife live the rest of their lives faithfully and peacefully together with their children. Viva la happy ending!!

After the Dance by John William Waterhouse
This painting also makes the floor look like a comfortable place to rest (even without the furry rug! I guess I have a thing for paintings with this kind of occurrence). It's a fairly mundane scene, yet the way it is presented makes it seem worthy of be noted.
Ending on that note, I'm going to try this out. It will have to wait until I get home, though. I'm at a University right now with Yavanna for her orientation. I volunteered to come with her because both my parents have to take both my brothers to their baseball commitments (they both made the all-stars!! Yeah! Go my brothers!). I could try the floor out right here in this Gigantic library, but I don't want to look like a bum. And the floor here smells bad anyways.
I wonder if anyone who read this post and looked at the paintings will have the same compelling curiosity as I do about the floor being comfy. I wonder if anyone will actually try it.....

P.S. If you're wondering how I can do this during a college orientation, please let me explain. Early on in the day they separated students from the parents for different "orientation sessions." Although, technically I am a student, I am not a student here. So I stayed behind with the "parents and family." I proceeded to figure I am not a parent, this is not mandatory even for the parents, I know this stuff already, so do Mom and Dad. So I ditched the rest of the sessions. I wandered around campus for a while, but it was really hot. So I stopped and acquired a free lunch (YESSS!! I love free food. Especially when its Subway!). Then I made my way here to the library which, by the way, has a cyber-cafe. I really like the little red light that's hanging over my table/head right now. It's so cyber-cafe-ish. Ok, I better end this post right now before I ramble anymore nonsense out of bordem.
I'll let you know how the "floor test" goes when I get around to it. Until next time, see ya.


Dreamer~ said...

What's a cyber cafe??

...Estë... said...

It's a place where you can get internet access with your computer. It also serves as a regular cafe where you can get food and coffee and stuff.