Sunday 26 June 2011

Week 26 - Fashion in the 15th Century with a little bit of Philosophy

"Lady in Yellow"
by Alesso Baldovinetti (1425-1499)

Alesso Baldovinetti's painting depicts the profile view of a lady
with whispy blonde hair set against a bright blue background.
The profile was used for portraits by many painters of the Early Renaissance.

Portrait of a Lady in Yellow, c. 1465 - National Gallery of Art, London

Baldovinetti's representation of a 'lady in yellow' shows the sitter almost to the waist.
Stitched to her sleeve is a pattern of three palm leaves
which is probably not merely a decorative pattern but the emblem of her family
 or of one into which she has married, or is soon to marry into.
She wears pearls on her head and around her neck which represents her wealth
and her hair is plucked back which was the fashion of the day.

Alesso Baldovinetti (14 October 1425 - 29 August 1499)
was an Italian early Renaissance painter, born in Florence to a family of a rich merchant.
He was a follower of the group of scientific realists and naturalists in art
which included Andrea del Castagno, Paolo Uccello and Domenico Veneziano.
Tradition says that he assisted in the decorations of the church of S. Egidio,
however, no records confirm this.

In 1462 Alesso was employed to paint the great fresco of the Annunciation 
in the cloister of the Annunziata basilica.  The remains as we see them give evidence
of the artist's power both of imitating natural detail with minute fidelity and 
of spacing his figures in a landscape with a large sense of air and distance;
and they amply verify two separate statements of 
Giorgio Vasari - Italian painter, writer, historian and architect
concerning him: that "he delighted in drawing landscapes from nature exactly as they are,
 whence we see in his paintings rivers; bridges, rocks, plants, fruits, roads, fields,
  cities, exercise grounds, and an infinity of other such things," and that he was an
inveterate experimentalist in technical matters.
His favourite method in wall-painting was to lay in his compositions in fresco 
and finish them  a secco with a mixture of yolk of egg and liquid varnish.
This, says Vasari, was with the view of protecting the painting from damp;
but in course of time the parts executed with this vehicle scaled away,
so that the great secret he hoped to have discovered turned out a failure.

From 1466-67 date the "Annunciation wall"
in the Cardinal of Portugal Chapel, San Miniato, Florence
The Annunciation is placed over the empty throne that faces the tomb 
by  15th century Italian sculptor Antonio Rossellino
The background of cypresses and cedars is painted in fresco,
the wall, bench and figures were painted on oak panel.
The lily in the centre is carved and gilded.
 more about Alessio Baldovinetti:   here

Back to Fashion:
Portrait of a Young Girl, 1465
attributed to Domenico Veneziano (1410-1461), alternatively to Alesso Baldovinetti 
Baldovinetti's style is marked by the influence of Veneziano,
who was active in Florence from 1439 to 1445.
 more about:  Domenico Veneziano


Portrait of a Girl by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494)

 Domenico Ghirlandaio
An Italian Renaissance painter from Florence.
Amongst his many apprentices was Michelangelo
more about:  
Domenico Ghirlandaio

 by Domenico Ghirlandaio, c. 1490

Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni, 1488
by Domenico Ghirlandaio

"Lady in Yellow"
Week 26, Diary 2011, National Gallery, London

Know, first, who you are;
and then adorn yourself accordingly.

An artistic impression of Epictetus

Epictetus (AD 55 - AD 135) was a Greek sage and Stoic philosopher.
He was born a slave at Hicrapolis, Phrygia (present day Pamukkale, Turkey),
and lived in Rome until banishment when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece
where he lived the rest of his life.  His teachings were noted down and published
by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses.  
Heartfelt and satirical by turns, Epictetus has had significant influence
on the popular moralistic tradition, but he is more than a moralizer;
his lucid resystematization and challenging application of Stoic ethics
qualify him as an important philosopher in his own right.
read more:   Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
and: The Enchiridion by Epictetus

To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control,
 but we can accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately.
Individuals, however, are responsible for their own actions,
which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline.
Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable,
or from neglecting what is within our power.
As part of the universal city that is the universe,
human beings have a duty to care for all fellow humans.
The person who followed these precepts would achieve happiness and peace of mind.

Une tres bonne semaine a tous!

Friday 24 June 2011

A very promising fruit crop?

It certainly looks like!



'small apples'


'big apples'
entirely organic - no spray - no treatment

with the most delicious flavor - like the apples I remember from my childhood






 A variety of plum 

which has a blaze of wonderful blossoms in mid to late February.

The fruit however, does not fully ripen until late June,
and when ripe the birds quickly devour them!


...and grapes

Very promising indeed, though we do need rain!
 But please - not today on  St. Jonhannis day,
because it is said:
 "St. Johannis - St. John's rain spoil us the best nuts!"


Also some old German farmer proverbs for June say:
"Wenn kalt und nass der Juni war, verdirbt er meist das ganze Jahr"
which means:
'If June is wet and cold, the barrel and the barn are left empty'
"Soll gedeihen Korn und Wein, muss im Juni Regen sein"
'For grain and wine to thrive, there must be rain in June'


 June was and still is - for our region - rather cool this year,
but certainly not wet at all ! 
So, Que sera?  We'll see....

Leandro Bassano (Bassano del Grapa) 1557 - Venise, 1622

Thursday 16 June 2011

Old Linen and Lavender

More Lavender is coming into full flower....

a real heaven for all the humble bees and humming-bird moths! the lavender 'embraces' a Louis XIV. lime stone finial from the mid-18th century

And I'm playing with ideas how to display some of the linen pieces....

for example...
with an early 19th century French cast iron urn, ca. 1820-30
still in its original condition, it was never over-painted in later times

But - to get the right color of the linen - I need daylight! No flash or artificial light, if possible.
 A suitable 'spot' in soft evening light, not to bright..probably just right.... ...

an old ladder from the 19th century, a bit "krumm und schief" ('lopsided and crooked')
...but I love it!

certainly made by a local artisan or even by the farmer himself

For me it is like a 'sculpture', and... these beautiful old rusted fixings!

 Chanvre - pure hemp, around 1850's

By mixing dye products I tried to get a nice raspberry color
here on the  tart
(this image is from the German magazine Wohnen Traeume 2009)

- different position -

- different light -
- different color -

A lovely piece with charming old patch - here together with an old German grain sack in hemp 

... same kind of old patches and repairs on this  Trousseau-flower-sack, dating 1860

It seems that in those times every woman in the western world made their repairs-stitching the same way...

...and on this one certainly with heart and soul. and tears!

but back to the French 'raspberry'..hemp..
this image shows the color nearly correct....

A genuine old German grain sack from my large collection
(will write a post about these famous German grain sacks - sometime in the future)


old French kitchen linen towels


 Old dried lavender and yarrow in front of an English Mid-Victorian screen, ca. 1840-50


Can't help....
just love old chipped paint... and wood... and hinges... and handles... and......

 French linen-damask napkins and a German mangle cloth
 Set of napkins around 1900
 mangle cloth 1910-20

Another German grain sack and mangle cloth with blue stripes


 Linen sheet with center seam, dyed in a nice faded blue

I was aiming for an authentic old-looking 18th century blue...

perfect as a table cloth either inside - or out-door

Now - how to display?

Here with two 19th century Italian storage jars

from my jar-collection

 with yellow ones - also 19th century Italian storage jars...or? many ideas...

....while pottering round... ..

...Oskar appeared.... usual...

 .... "Hm - all nicely set-up for me, for my 'wash' and cat-nap!"....

His Highness is just mad about old farmers linen! Like me....!


Still changing, playing with shapes and colors ..

and in the end - just simple! Which I like most...
here with a pillow made from a 19th century German grain sack in hemp, using the inside

or with a "little horse"
from a vintage German grain sack

Normally I only look for pieces up to the 1920's, latest! But I liked the design of this horse with the blue stripe

Two pieces of the dyed linen in blue:
 on top Chanvre hemp, the other one in pure linen,
this image shows clearly the different weave and texture

again: different light - different color
-actually I love this kind of light sea-color! Have to experiment with dyes to get it.....-


pure hemp - linen-hemp-mix - pure linen
different weave - different texture
French, from mid- to late 19th century,
all dyed by myself during the last few weeks , trying all kind of different color tones and nuances

It's interesting - genuine and good pieces go with everything


Old Linen - Hemp - German Grain Sacks - and Lavender....

Pillow - made of 19th century German hemp grain sack, using the inner side

Original and genuine Germain grain sacks with blue stripes, have a herring bone weave at the outside.
For upholstery and pillows I use mainly the inside,
 I prefer the plain coarse weave and the softer color of the blue.


And last but not least...
A "little" monogram:

French Drap - over sheet - in fil de lin (fine linen) from the 19th century
with hand stitched center seam and hem.
The hand embroidered monogram is later and dates from the first half of 20th century,
and, because of the design it could be even embroidered in the 1950's.
 Dyeing this linen, I tried to get a natural tone of beige, it turned out in a rather pleasing kind of sand color.
Monogram size: 10,5" high by 9,5" wide

these images are showing the size and proportion of the monogram
which is actually not all that "little"!

(sorry, but I haven't got the time to iron the linens again for the 'photo-session')


I hope that you all enjoy this 'little tour' of  Old Linen and Lavender

A bientôt