Aurora Consurgens (att: St. Thomas Aquinas or “Pseudo-Aquinas”)
f. 34v: Black Female Angel
Germany (c. 1420s)
Parchment Codex with Watercolor Miniatures, 20.4 x 13.9 cm.
This is one of those manuscript miniatures that is so beautiful and strange, it’s hard to believe it’s really as old as it is. Aurora Consurgens is an alchemical treatise; a commentary on the Latin translation of Silvery Waters by Muhammed ibn Umail at-Tamîmî (Senior Zadith), attributed first to Saint Thomas Aquinas and later attributed to “Pseudo-Aquinas”.
The miniatures are unusual not only for their quality, but also for the fact that they’re tiny watercolor paintings on the parchment codex. The whole text has been digitized here, and you can read like you were holding it:
The link has a photo with flash in which you can see the gilded portions a bit better, as well as the ability to zoom in to see the details. For those who were curious, inside the Angel’s body is a sheathed dagger and a coiled serpent:
… when an image is presented as a work of art, the way people look at it is affected by a whole series of learnt assumptions about art. Assumptions concerning Beauty, Truth, Genius, Civilisation, Form, Status, Taste, etc.
Many of these assumptions no longer accord with the world as it is…Out of true with the present, these assumptions obscure the past. They mystify rather than clarify. The past is never there waiting to be discovered, to be recognised for exactly what it is.
History always constitutes the relation between a present and its past. Consequently fear of the present leads to mystification of the past.
The past is not for living in; it is a well of conciousness from which we draw in order to act.
Cultural mystification of the past entails a double loss. Works of art are made unnecessarily remote. And the past offers us fewer conclusions to complete in action.
When we ‘see’ a landscape, we situate ourselves in it. if we ‘saw’ the art of the past, we would situate ourselves in history.
When we are prevented from seeing it, we are being deprived of the history which belongs to us. Who benefits from this deprivation?
In the end, the art of the past is being mystified because a privileged minority is striving to invent a history which can retrospectively justify the role of the ruling classes, and such a justification can no longer make sense in modern terms.
And so, inevitably, it mystifies.
Ways of Seeing by John Berger
OH MY GOD I LOVE IT. I could wish it was a bit less dense, but if you take it one sentence at a time, it has so many layers of meaning, and it explores a lot of the ideas I’m trying to express here. Especially this little haymaker:
I almost want to break it up into separate one-sentence quotes and dole them out bit by bit, but I think the impact of them all in context is pretty intense if you brace yourself! Thank you SO much for sharing this!(via medievalpoc)
Fresco from the Walls of the “Hall of Pisanello” in the Ducal Palace in Mantua (Arthurian Cycle)
I mean if there were medieval kittens I wouldn’t complain… (But no really, this blog is the best.)
top: “tree trunks” arthur dove, 1934
bottom: “wood lot, maine woods” marsden hartley, 1939
the phillips collection did a crap job digitizing the hartley painting but the point here is: look at these two modernists and their radically different interpretations of what is essentially the same scene. but the two images aren’t that different, really, if you consider more than the basic arrangement of lines. they’re each looking at something exposed, whether by nature or by man.
consider: dove was from a wealthy family, went to an ivy league school, married women. hartley had a rough childhood (eight siblings, dead mother, left behind for a year when his family moved), attended art school on a scholarship, loved other men when it was criminal to do so.
in short: the paintings are the same but carry different histories, and this is reflected in their respective style and mood.
tl;dr: blah blah blah can’t let that art history degree go to waste now can i
im just filled with hate and useless facts
That hitler thing was photoshopped. Pretty sure everyone else was real. http://www.mfs-theothernews.com/2014/02/adolf-hitler-made-hero-of-city-hall-of.html
yeah considering the prevalence of just about every other symbol of white supremacy and neo-naziism throughout the ukranian coup forces i’m not gonna be too torn up about falling for a photoshop of hitler
#uhhh like stepan bandera is so much better
American media is pretty good at distracting everyone from the fact a coalition government has now been formed in Ukraine consisting of Neo-Nazis from the Svoboda and Right Sector parties.
No coverage on US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, or her condemning and revealing phone calls that push for regime change, or EU Foreign Affairs Chief, Catherine Ashton’s equally condemning phone calls that reveal the sniper attacks on protesters and Ukrainian police forces were from the new far right coalition.. or good ol’ John McCain’s dealings with Svoboda’s leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, who’s forces are allegedly behind the death toll. Svoboda now control the local armed forces, national security, justice and education buildings in Kiev. They have taken caches of weapons from defense forces, all while more far-right, extremists flock to the city.
Surely nothing suspicious is afoot, and surely Russia has no reason for alarm… right? It is easy to point fingers were the media tells you, but there is a lot more going on beneath the surface of the events at hand.
lmao that’s a confederate flag