October 28, 2013
SUNDAY FROM MY DESK
The clarity of the skies after a big storm always impact both my eyes and my spirit.
Yesterday Paris was deluged with rain and wind, now this amazing sky.
Dürer said that all art lives in nature and with so many beautiful
and provoking pieces to see at Fiac this week,
still it is nature that stops me always with its beauty.
But the amazing thing is that we always still try to capture life in art
and sometimes I think come very close to success…
“Truly, art is embedded in nature; he who can extract it, has it” – Albrecht Dürer.
Here his watercolor “View of Arco”. This is one of the most famous
of his nature works made during his trip to Italy in 1495.
One of the great Renaissance geniuses,
Dürer’s attraction to nature was legendary .
If art is embedded in earth, it also must be made from earth.
Looking closely at the lines and colors of the fields of the Arco landscape
reminds one of engraved earth – the ancient and mysterious
hieroglyphs carved into the rock, that no one could read
until Napoleon’s expedition found the Rosetta stone.
Somehow it does not matter – all the beauty and inspiration
can be read by the eye alone, just as Dürer’s earth…
This piece, engraved in salt, by Pier Paolo Calzolari from 1978,
has been my favorite at Fiac in Paris, this week.
An Italian working in the minimalist
and arte povera mediums of salt, flannel, and burnt wood,
he gracefully brings my mind to think of nature
and how we use it. I am for sure a lover of his poetic work.
Line Vautrin was known for engraving words, numbers, or little poems
– making patterns in the jewelry she created in resin, glass, or bronze.
She never “finished” a piece, always leaving it a bit primitive –
her pieces often recalling ancient inscribed tablets,
with hieroglyphs you almost can read – almost.
Every time I see a woman wearing one
of her creations I get pulled to it like a magnet.
Here, the Egyptian god of the Earth, Geb,
seen in this bracelet of the 17th Dynasty.
Often mentioned in the pyramid texts, earthquakes
were supposed to come from his laughter, and he was also
the source of fresh water, so important in the desert.
This bracelet belonged to the Queen of Thebes and is now
in the Cairo Museum. The clasp so similar to Vautrin.
This Egyptian inspired necklace in gilt bronze and enamel
by Vautrin dates to 1945 and is named “Ramesses”.
Her work in bronze was famously started in her father’s
foundry and she became well known at a very young age.
Her jewels were often inspired by ancient themes,
but they were super modern then and now.
A pioneer in materials and techniques, she obtained
a patent for adherence in synthetic resin.
Her use of resin in jewels was the result of
endless experiments she continued until her death in 1997,
the pieces still beautiful and unique.
The mystery of the assassination of Ramesses III took 3000 years to solve.
The last of the Great Pharaohs, his wife used resin and poison
to kill him and place her son on the throne. She failed.
Ancient documents at the Egyptian Museums
reveal so many conspiracies but we could
not read them until hieroglyphs were translated.
Great stories I used to listen to when my father was telling me
about his year traveling in Egypt as a young man.
He would make them into fairy tales with
such mystery I am still curious to this day.
Here, a necklace now on exhibition in Albany (New York)
made from ancient Egyptian scarabs. The actress Anne Baxter
as the wife of “Ramesis II” (Yul Brynner) wears it literally
as costume jewelry in “The Ten Commandments” from 1956
trying to win the eye of Moses, played by Charlton Heston.