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Âllo qu'est-ce qui se passe? // allo, how's it going? Tell me your secrets, I'm listening....
Hellenistic Gold Griffin Pendant, c. 3rd-1st Century BC
The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle.The lion is traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of the birds. The griffin, a combination of those two animals was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. In antiquity, the griffin was a symbol of divine power.
Originally, this gold griffin applique would be attached to a cloth through the three openings on its base. A suspension ring and a bail were recently attached to make the griffin a wearable pendant.
The hollow gold griffin is made from two die-stamped halves soldered together. The collar and tail are made of applied gold beads. The lower part of the body is decorated with two granulation clusters. Two ribbed gold pendants are hanging from the griffin’s beak.
Electrum Hekte from Mytilene, Lesbos, c. 375-326 BC
This is the finest of only 4 known examples of this coin. It shows a female head facing right, her hair bound up with ribbons and on the reverse is a Panathenaic amphora with a pointed lid, a filleted palm branch to left; all within a linear frame.
The Panathenaic amphora is so named on account of its being given as a prize to victors at the Panathenaic Games held every four years at Athens. The amphora would have been filled with oil from the sacred olive groves in Attica, and its design is perhaps the best example of a vase shape made to serve an official function. The presence of a palm branch with a fillet tied around it to the left of the amphora further confirms that this is indeed a victor’s prize amphora. Each Panathenaic amphora was made according to a standardized shape and capacity of one metretes (approximately 42 quarts), and was decorated in black-figure technique. The principle decoration is always found in the panels of the body of the amphora, with an armed Athena typically on the front and an illustration of the featured competition on the back. (example)
Ancient Mytilene (map) is on Lesbos, a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea. It is separated from Turkey by the narrow Mytilini Strait. The city was famous for its great output of electrum coins struck from the late 6th through mid-4th centuries BC. According to Homer, Mytilene has been an organized city since 1054 BC.
Jean-Siméon Chardin was listening impatiently to another artist, whose work was distinguished by mere technical facility, go on about the craft of mixing colors.
“So you say one paints with colors?,” asked Chardin impatiently.
"With what else then?" replied the other artist, taken aback.
"One uses colors,” retorted Chardin, “but one paints with feelings.”
—Larousse, Dictionnaire de la peinture
Still Life with Fish, Vegetables, Gougères, Pots, and Cruets on a Table (1769), Still Life with Peaches, a Silver Goblet, Grapes, and Walnuts (about 1759–60), The J. Paul Getty Museum
“ Suppose that a person writes what she must. That is only the first step of becoming a writer. The work must survive the moment of creation. It must get out to an audience. She or he must dare to show the work. She must risk ridicule, misunderstanding, scandal, condemnation, & what’s often worse, none of the above: silence. No attention at all. ”— Marge Piercy (via writingquotes)
Great Grey Shrike - Lanius excubitor
Shrikes are Passerines (the “songbirds”, or perching birds), but are far from the pretty little finches and industrious sparrows most people associate with their order.
Their scientific name, Lanius excubitor, the “sentinel butcher”, comes from the “sentinel” (lookout) behaviors that this species is known for. Well, that’s where the “sentinel” part comes from. The “butcher” part…well, that’s another matter. These birds impale their prey on thorny bushes (and barbed-wire fences).
The vernacular names for these birds are just as colorful; the direct translations of “strangling angel”, "choking bird”, “greater butcher-bird”, and “murdering [mag]pie" show how well-known this little bird was for its shriek and butchery.
While this method of butchery is quite effective for killing everything from large insects to lizards, mice, and young ermines, it also serves as a handy way to “age” some of their more toxic food sources. When exposed to the sun and heat for several days, the toxins in big, fat, nutritious beetles are neutralized. The habit of aging or storing uneaten prey gave the Great Grey Shrike its German vernacular name: Neuntöter - “killer of nine”.
Curiously, this is one of the few passerines that currently does not have any cuckoo (Cuculus spp.) that’s able to parasitize their nest sites. Until the mid-1970s, there were several populations that were affected by brood parasites, but in the late 1970s, they appear to have out-evolved the cuckoos, at least for the time being.
Natural History of the Birds of Central Europe. Johann Frederich Naumann, 1905.
Cursed Ancient Statue: The Goddess of Death, c. 3500 BC
This curious limestone statue was unearthed at Lemb (Lempa), Cyprus in 1878. It has earned the nickname ‘Goddess of Death’ but its actual name is the ‘Women from Lemb’. Dating from 3500 BC, its real purpose is unknown but it may have been a fertility statue or a representation of a goddess whose name has been lost to time. This little innocuous looking statue has become famous for the deadly effect it has had on each of its owners.
The statue has belonged to at least four different families and each one has suffered a great amount of tragedy after acquiring the piece. Lord Elphont was the first owner. Within six years of buying the statue, all seven of his family members passed away. The second owner, Ivor Menucci and his whole family died within four years of attaining the statue. The third owner, Lord Thompson-Noel, suffered the death of his whole family also within 4 years. The statue eventually ended up the as property of Sir Alan Biverbrook and he, his wife, and their two daughters were the next to die.
To try and stop the curse from harming anyone else, Biverbrook’s two surviving sons donated the statue to the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh. After that, the the museum curator who handled the statue died within a year. Today, the Women from Lemb statue remains tucked away safely behind glass at the museum where it can’t cause any more harm…hopefully.
The village of Lempa (map) is one of the most ancient in Cyprus. It is believed to have been first settled in the Chalcolithic Period (c. 3800–2500 BC), and a number of cruciform female figurines like this one, have been found from this era.
The Unsettling Sculptures of Tristan Schane
”I was born in New York City in 1968 where I grew up and have spent nearly my entire life. I have been a full time professional artist since I was 18 years old.
My art career began when I was in my teens doing professional comic book illustration. Soon I was doing work for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, First Comics, and Continuity Comics. Then my work turned toward fully painted illustrations in watercolor, gouache, acrylics, and oils. I produced paintings for promotional art, covers, posters, and various comic books and horror-related published merchandise for these companies as well as Eclipse Publishing and horror writer Clive Barker. In this industry it was necessary to be adept at painting almost anything and everything, from the most imaginative and fantastic to the very prosaic: from landscapes and cityscapes to people, animals, monsters, weird settings, vehicles and machinery of all kinds.
I have shifted from illustration work to the pursuit of my own imagery and vision in fine art. I paint now exclusively in oils in medium-to-large format. Since 1998 I also began to produce life-size sculpture, working free-hand in oil clay and then casting from rubber molds in various materials, principally Ultracal gypsum cement and plastic resins.
Tristan’s Site seems to be down http://www.tristanschane.com/
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