Friday, October 28, 2011

beauty and then some

Academic peonage has its benefits as we are able to order piles of gorgeously colorful tomes and indulge every urge of our intellectual and creative ids.

I've loved stained glass as long as I could remember, but Harry Clarke took things to a whole other level. I really don't know how he languishes in such obscurity.

and the book illustrations! I wish I could draw with that kind of gorgeous detail.

In my late 20s, I've found that I've rediscovered things I loved in childhood that I didn't have access to after reading all the books in the library that looked interesting and not having access to things like OhioLink and the Internet.

My sister and I loved fairy tales as a kid, Perrault, Andersen, The Brothers Grimm, and Andrew Lang, and my grandparents had faded volumes with fraying cloth bindings and I loved the illustrations which had so much drama and detail and the more obscure tales, leading to reading lots of fantasy. I still have volumes of this stuff at home that I picked up at sundry booksales and such. I never realized that Russia had such amazing illustrators in the 19th century.

I wish there was an paint-by-number set, but I'm getting plates of these ones etched, even if the content seems a bit strange for hanging on the living room wall. That Art Nouveau sensibility while evoking illuminated manuscripts and folk art, it's just a beautiful thing.

Vasilisa the Beautiful is not just pretty, but she's smart too, and given that Halloween is three days from now, this feels somewhat appropriate.

I stumbled across Virginia Sterrett's work and it reminded me of that sense of wonder I had when I first started reading such things.

and of course, Dulac's take on Poe...

I also wanted to be a ballerina when I was seven, and jumped around my parents' living room to Tchaikovsky and roller-skated with my sister in the basement to those greatest hits classical records (Beethoven's Biggest Hits) slowly destroyed by a Fisher-Price turntable that my dad refused to let us put his records on. He's a smart man.

Vrubel's Swan Princess reminds me of the Trina Schart Hyman book of the folktale I got from the library when I was little, but more impressionistic...

And, as an arty kid with a religious bent, Victor Vasnetsov is a balm for my soul, an antidote for the Thomas Kinkades of the world.

Evelyn Paul's
illustrations are lovely, understated and that medieval-evoking thing going on as well,

And Kay Nielsen, who died in poverty, leaving behind some incredible beauty as well.

And this, this is beautiful too.

1 comment:

Randal Graves said...

Dammit, this makes me want to draw. I'm gonna go draw.