The etching and engraving archive

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Previous posts about etchings and engravings.

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Bruegel’s sins

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The World of Wonders

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LVCIFER

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Gérard Trignac’s Invisible Cities

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La Ronde du Sabbat

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Meyer’s Todtengessängen

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Jacques Houplain’s Maldoror

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Athanasius Kircher’s Pan

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Robert Fludd’s Temples of Music

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Musaeum Hermeticum

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Rodler’s Fine, Useful Booklet

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Rules and Examples of Perspective Proper, 1693

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Grand capitals

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Rentz’s Todentanz

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A Scholar in his Study

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Old New Orleans

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Les Terres du Ciel

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Transformations

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Doorways

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Eustace details

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The Library of Babel by Érik Desmazières

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The labyrinth of Versailles

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Atalanta Fugiens

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Athanasius Kircher’s pyramids

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The Royal Natural History by Richard Lydekker

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Animating Piranesi

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Melencolia details

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Le style Louis XV

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Sea and Land: An Illustrated History

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Mérigot’s Ruins of Rome

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Fonthill Abbey

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The Turgot Map of Paris

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Gustave Doré’s Ancient Mariner

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Athanasius Kircher’s Tower of Babel

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Alfred Rethel’s Totentanz

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Paulini’s mythological alphabet

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The paper architecture of Brodsky and Utkin

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Six Suites of Engravings

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The art of Jindrich Pilecek, 1944–2002

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Further oddities

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Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae

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Charles Méryon revisited

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Carceri, thermae and candelabra

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Yuri Yakovenko bookplates

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Wenceslaus Hollar’s peacocks

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Liceti’s monsters

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Albrecht Dürer’s Triumphal Arch

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Cabala, Speculum Artis Et Naturae In Alchymia

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Frans De Geetere’s illustrated Maldoror

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Schott’s Physica Curiosa

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Grandville’s Un Autre Monde

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The Triumph of the Phallus

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The art of Oleg Denysenko

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Nicoletto Giganti’s naked duellists

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Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales

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Jan Saenredam’s whale

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Digital alchemy

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Oeuvres D’Architecture by Jean Le Pautre

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Gramato-graphices

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Edward William Lane’s Arabian Nights Entertainments

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John Bickham’s Fables and other short poems

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Battle of the Naked Men

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The art of François Houtin

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Maldoror illustrated

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Reynard the Fox

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Czanara: The Art & Photographs of Raymond Carrance

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Empusa

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Hadrian and Greek love

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The art of Stella Langdale, 1880–1976

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The art of Michael Goro

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The art of Michiko Hoshino

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The art of Toni Pecoraro

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Piranesi as designer

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Giorgio Ghisi’s Allegory of Life

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Les lieux imaginaires d’Erik Desmazières

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Gods’ Man by Lynd Ward

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Weel done, Cutty-sark!

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Prince Iskandar’s horoscope

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Architectural renderings by HW Brewer

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Happy Solstice

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The art of Félicien Rops, 1833–1898

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The art of José Hernández

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Vedute di Roma

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Frans Masereel’s city

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Charles Le Brun’s physiognomies

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The art of Erik Desmazières

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The art of André Beuchat

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The art of Yves Doaré

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The art of Philippe Mohlitz

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Angels 4: Fallen angels

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Abelardo Morell

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Aldous Huxley on Piranesi’s Prisons

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The art of Jean Coulon

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The art of Gérard Trignac

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Russian Utopia

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The Essex Street Water Gate, London WC2

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The Ranelagh Rotunda

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The art of Peter Milton

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Saint-Aubin’s Butterfly People

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Filippo Morghen’s Voyage to the Moon

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Charles Méryon’s Paris

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The Atlas Coelestis of Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr

More archive pages:
The archive page archive

Jan Svankmajer: The Complete Short Films

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Historia Naturae, Suita (1967).

Another very welcome DVD release from the BFI. Svankmajer’s shorts have always been my favourites of his film work. I love his Alice feature film (for me, the best screen adaptation of Alice in Wonderland), and Faust (although the jabbering devils get annoying) but on the whole his longer films don’t seem to work as well as the earlier works. The short films present his Surrealist intentions in their purest expression, whether using his own jerky form of stop-motion animation or the aggressive montage seen in The Ossuary and elsewhere.

As with the Brothers Quay release from last year, there’s a great set of extras with this. If you’re curious about the films but have never seen them, searching for his name on YouTube turns up a few examples.

The most comprehensive DVD collection ever assembled of all 26 short films by the legendary Czech Surrealist filmmaker-animator Jan Svankmajer is released by the BFI on 25 June. Technically and conceptually astonishing in their own right, these films are also as remarkable for their philosophical consistency as for their frequently mind-boggling imagery.

Drawing on a tradition of Surrealism based in the capital of magic and alchemy—Prague—Svankmajer uses a range of techniques, combining live action, puppet theatre, stop-motion and drawn animation, claymation, cut-outs, re-edited archive footage and montage.

With nearly eight hours of material, compiled on three discs and packaged in a deluxe digipack with a 56-page illustrated booklet, the DVD is a truly must-have item for any Svankmajer fan. Its release follows a visit by the director to BFI Southbank on 29 May to discuss his work, after a preview of his latest film Lunacy. Lunacy opens for a two-week run on 1 June, part of a complete Jan Svankmajer retrospective season at BFI Southbank from 1–16 June, a selection of which will then go on tour.

Compiled by BFI Screenonline’s Michael Brooke, who also produced last year’s highly acclaimed release Quay Brothers: The Short Films 1979–2003, the DVD collection spans almost 30 years, from The Last Trick (1964) to Food (1992). All the classics are included—Punch and Judy, The Flat, Jabberwocky, Dimensions of Dialogue, Down to the Cellar and both versions of The Ossuary (with the original banned tour-guide soundtrack and the replacement music track), alongside many British video premieres. It even contains the music video made for former Stranglers front man Hugh Cornwell (Another Kind of Love) and two ‘Art Breaks’ created for MTV.

The third disc of two-and-a-half hours of extra material includes a bonus short, Johanes Doktor Faust (1958); the original 54-minute version of The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer (1984) with a brand new introduction by the Quay Brothers; the French documentary Les Chimères des Svankmajer (2001); interviews with Jan and Eva Svankmajer and examples of their work in other media. There’s also a chance to see some Svankmajer special effects, created for commercial Czech features when he was banned from making his own films. The 54-page booklet includes an introduction to Svankmajer by Michael O’Pray; detailed film notes by Michael Brooke, Simon Field, Michael O’Pray, Julian Petley, A.L. Rees and Philip Strick; notes on the extras and much more.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Short films by Walerian Borowczyk
Taxandria, or Raoul Servais meets Paul Delvaux
The Brothers Quay on DVD
Barta’s Golem

Leonora Carrington

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The Guardian profiles the wonderful Leonora Carrington, one of the last of the original Surrealists. There’s little excuse for the Tate’s neglect as recounted below, Marina Warner has championed her work for years and she was the subject of a TV documentary in the BBC’s Omnibus strand in the 1990s. Maybe the Tate curators should watch more television.

Leonora and me

Leonora Carrington ran off with Max Ernst, hung out with Picasso, fled the Nazis and escaped from a psychiatric hospital. Joanna Moorhead travels to Mexico to track down her long-lost cousin, one of Britain’s finest—and neglected—surrealists.

Joanna Moorhead
Tuesday January 2, 2007
The Guardian

A few months ago, I found myself next to a Mexican woman at a dinner party. I told her that my father’s cousin, whom I’d never met and knew little about, was an artist in Mexico City. “I don’t expect you’ve heard of her, though,” I said. “Her name is Leonora Carrington.”
The woman was taken aback. “Heard of her? My goodness, everyone in Mexico has heard of her. Leonora Carrington! She’s hugely famous. How can she be your cousin, and yet you know nothing about her?”

How indeed? At home, I looked her up, and found myself plunged into a world of mysterious and magical paintings. Dark canvases dominated by a large, sinister-looking house; strange and slightly menacing women, mostly tall and wearing big cloaks; ethereal figures, often captured in the process of changing from one form to another; faces within bodies; long, spindly fingers; horses, dogs and birds.

I remembered from childhood hearing stories about a cousin who had disappeared “to be an artist’s model”. But the truth was infinitely richer and more thrilling. Leonora Carrington, born into a bourgeois family, eloped at the age of 20 to live with the surrealist artist, Max Ernst (married, and some 20 years her senior). The couple fled across war-torn Europe in the late 1930s, and she later settled in Mexico, where she continued to paint, write and sculpt.

Most excitingly, though, Leonora was still alive – aged nearly 90 and living in a suburb of Mexico City with her husband, a Hungarian photographer. I contacted my Carrington cousins and discovered that one of them had visited her a couple of years ago: she was, he reported, on amazing form, and still working. I wrote to ask whether she’d be prepared to meet. Word came back that she would, and a few weeks later I flew to Mexico City.

Leonora Carrington looks eerily like my father – the same piercing eyes, the same trace of an upper-class English accent. We met at her house, and she led me through her dark dining room, crammed with her sculptures, to the kitchen where we were to spend most of the next three days, chatting endlessly over cups of Lipton’s tea (“I hardly touch alcohol,” she told me. “Enough people in our family have died of drink. Anyway I smoke, and it’s too much to drink and smoke.”)

Leonora was born in 1917, the only daughter (she had three brothers) of textile magnate Harold Carrington and his Irish wife, Maurie Moorhead, my grandfather’s older sister. Harold and Maurie were very different characters: where he was entrepreneurial, Protestant and a workaholic, Maurie was easy-going, Catholic and open-minded. The family home was an imposing mansion in Lancashire, Crookhey Hall – the sinister house that features in many of her paintings.

Leonora was expelled from three or four schools, but the one thing she did learn was a love of art. Her father was not keen on her going to art college, but her mother intervened and she was allowed to go and study in Florence. There, she was exposed to the Italian masters, whose love of gold, vermilion and earth colours were to inspire her later work.

She returned to England brimming with enthusiasm for the artist’s life, but her father had other ideas. As far as he was concerned, she had sown her wild oats and now needed to come back to earth. This meant launching her as a debutante: a ball was held in her honour at the Ritz, and she was presented to George V. A few years later, in a surreal short story The Debutante, she poured out her loathing of “the season”, with a witty description of sending a hyena along to take her place at her coming-out ball.

In 1936, the first surrealist exhibition opened in London – for Leonora, something of an epiphany. “I fell in love with Max [Ernst]’s paintings before I fell in love with Max,” she says. She met Ernst at a dinner party. “Our family weren’t cultured or intellectual – we were the good old bourgeoisie, after all,” she says. “From Max I had my education: I learned about art and literature. He taught me everything.”

Continues here.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Las Pozas and Edward James
Surrealist cartomancy

The Absolute Elsewhere

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I’ve had the late RT Gault’s extraordinary web achive linked on my main site for years but thought it was worth giving it another plug here. The title of his site, The Absolute Elsewhere, comes from the equally extraordinary Pauwels and Bergier book, The Morning of the Magicians, a unique concoction of fact, fiction and speculation that runs through alchemy, potential developments in human evolution, Forteana, Arthur Machen and Nazi mysticism, among a host of topics. This was the book that launched a thousand lesser crank volumes in the 1970s and also had a surreptitious influence on works as diverse as Shea and Wilson’s Illuminatus! trilogy and David Bowie’s Hunky Dory album.

Gault described his site thus:

This is a bibliography of visionary, occult, new age, fringe science, strange and even crackpot works published between 1945 and 1988. Added to the mix are some other works which may relate to them, or at least give a sense of the spirit of the times. The main emphasis is upon works produced between 1960 and 1980, as the subtitle suggests.

and it’s his wonderful collection of paperback covers that’s the chief delight here. One can wish for the scans to be slightly higher quality and for the collection to be more extensive but what’s there is well worth a look, if only to see how lurid paperback styles evolve over the course of a couple of decades.

The web is an increasingly valuable repository for people with collections like this. Some of Mr Gault’s other pages seem to have gone offline but his Arthur Machen pages are still there with a nice gallery of rare editions. Other favourite archive sites would include the Violet Books galleries, the Vintage Paperbacks site, and the hilariously silly Gay on the Range, which I’ve mentioned before.

Update: Following Gault’s death the site has been deleted so I’ve updated the links to the Wayback Machine’s archive. There’s also a mirror of the site here.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The book covers archive