The Astronomers Monument @Griffith_Observatory

Astronomers Monument is a product of the great economic depression of the 1930s, when New Deal initiatives created federally-funded work programs to employ skilled workers at a time when they would otherwise remain idle and without income. One of the first of these programs, the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), began in December 1933. Soon thereafter, in cooperation with the Los Angeles Park Commission, PWAP commissioned a sculpture project on the grounds of the new Observatory (which was under construction).

Using a design by local artist Archibald Garner and materials donated by the Womens’ Auxiliary of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Garner and five other artists sculpted and cast the concrete monument and figures. Each artist was responsible for sculpting one astronomer; one of the artists, George Stanley, was also the creator of the famous “Oscar” statuette. The other artists involved were Arnold Forester, Djey el Djey, Gordon Newell, Roger Noble Burnham.

The six astronomers featured on the monument are among the most influential and important in history. The six figures represent the Greek astronomer Hipparchus (about 125 B.C.), Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), Isaac Newton (1642-1727), and John Herschel (1738-1822). Albert Einstein was considered for inclusion, but planers ultimately decided it would be inappropriate to feature someone still alive (the monument was completed in 1934; Einstein died in 1955). [sources: The Living New Deal & Griffith Observatory]

May 10th, 2019

Hollywood Busts

Similar expressions, millenia apart.

Bust of Belisarius, 1785-91 || Jean-Baptiste Stouf || Marble

Belisarius (about 505-565) was a Byzantine general whose military prowess was envied by the emperor Justinian, who banished and allegedly blinded the general. The subject was popular among French eighteenth-century writers and artists, both as political allegory and as a means of depicting the pathos of a fallen hero. Stouf skillfully rendered the crinkled skin around the eyes, the sunken cheeks, and the luxuriant curls of the beard and hair with a subtlety that belies the challenge of carving stone.

Belisarius at the Getty Center || James Dean at Griffith Observatory

Los Angeles

May 10th, 2019

The Goddess Nicotina, c. 1860

Unmasked

From a photo album accompanying the exhibition ”Oscar Rejlander: Artist Photographer” exploring the life and work of one of the most influential photographers of the 19th century.

”Oscar G. Rejlander (British, born Sweden, 1813-1875) was one of the 19th century’s greatest innovators in the medium of photography, counting Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll and Julia Margaret Cameron among his devotees.

Oscar G. Rejlander was born in Sweden and moved to England in 1839, working first as a painter before turning to photography in 1852. He made a living as a portrait photographer while experimenting with photographic techniques, most notably combination printing, in which parts of multiple negatives were exposed separately and then printed to form a single picture. Rejlander moved to London in 1862, where his business continued to grow and where his wife, Mary Bull, worked alongside him in his photography studios.” [source: The Getty Center]

For more photos by Oscar Rejlander, please visit this Art Blart article.

The Getty Center, L.A.

May 10th, 2019

Bar at the Folies-Bergère

How would Manet react, I wonder…

Daughter of Art History, Theater A, 1989 || Yasumasa Morimura
Daughter of Art History, Theater B, 1989 || Yasumasa Morimura

Since the early 1980s, Yasumasa Morimura has been appropriating and restaging famous paintings, casting himself in the role of the figures depicted. By fabricating elaborate sets and costumes, he does not merely replicate his sources but also presents a pastiche of references that simultaneously pay homage to and satirize the original works. [source: The Getty Center]

Los Angeles

May 10th, 2019