Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament, First Elimination Round #26/64

Faceoff #1: Beauneveu v. Hogarth

André Beauneveu
active 1361, died c.1402

Tied with Domenico Beccafumi in his initial Round 1 outing, in January 2012.
Lost to Remedios Varo in a second shot at Round 1.


William Hogarth
1697 - 1764

Lost to Katsushika Hokusai in Round 1 by a two-vote swing. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!!

Faceoff #2: Holbein v. van Honthorst

Hans Holbein
1497ish - 1543
German; worked in Britain

Lost to Homer in Round 1.


Gerrit van Honthorst
1590 - 1656

Beaten by Pieter De Hooch in Round 1.

Vote for the two artists of your choice! Votes generally go in the comments, but have been known to arrive by email, by postcard, or in a sealed envelope.

Please note that you may vote only once in each face-off.  Opining that both of the artists in one of the two face-offs is superior to the other is fine, but casting your votes for two artists in the same face-off is not permissible.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Wednesday Post

The Existential Southwest
I am alone, as always


New Mexico, the second youngest state, is located in the plateau region of the United States, at the southern end of the Rocky Mountains.  Rich in Indian history, today the Pueblo Indians live in about 20 pueblos, scattered from Taos to Isleta, and on the high mesas to the west.  Their ceremonial dances, which visitors are permitted to watch, are among the strangest relics of pagan worship on this continent.

Dear Harrietta - Yep, I'm still here and enjoying every minute.  To tell the truth - I dislike returning to Mich.  I do hope your problems will all vanish like mist.  Take good care of your self.  Love, Blanche

3830 East Van Buren  275-8541
"America's Fastest Growing Motel Chain"
Recommended by Diner's Club, Carte Blanche and American Express. 

One of the swell motels out here.  Terrifically hot weather.  At Phoenix Ariz it was 111°.  On to Las Vegas - hot there too.  The Klopkes

Won 3 Jackpots at Las Vegas but lost it again.


Dear folks,  we pray that Albert will improve each day.  Believe Galen is some better at this time.  We think of you Harriet.  I know how hard it can be when there is sickness.  Love, Galen and Ann

Kit Carson's Cave near Gallup, New Mexico.  Looking out of the cave you see the country as Kit Carson saw it in the 1860's where he sheltered his men while rounding up Navajo Indians for the long walk to Bosque Redondo.

Hi Gang -- Miss all of you.  But we are having a good time.  Just road bumming along.  May see you soon.  Bob.

night cat 1999
acrylic on canvas
23 1/2' x 19 1/2"

Hot days - hot nights - I ride my bike downtown at night - everything is quiet - I am alone, as always - black bike cuts through black night - the rattle of rims the only sound - this is my secret life - hidden under shadows on dark desert streets - besides this I find boredom - there isn't enough to do here - everyone is so lazy - there is nothing to accomplish - I just want to leave - I want to escape and never come back - at least I have my own place - I will be 31 in about 9 days - birthdays mean less and less - I'd rather be camping - under the trees - somewhere quiet and cooler - if you see Portland, tell her I miss her  Love, J

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament, Left Bracket Second Round: Van der Goes v. Gauguin!

Play-In Tournament Phase 2, Flight 6 closes noon PDT this Saturday!

Hugo van der Goes
1440 - 1482

Lost to somebody named Vincent van Gogh in Round 1.
Smeared Arshile Gorky in First Round Elimination.

Paul Gauguin
1848 - 1903
French; worked in France and Tahiti
  • Took care of business versus Henri Gaudier-Brzeska in Round 1.
  • Tied with Thomas Gainsborough in a gripping Round 2 artists' duel. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!
  • Tied again with Jacques-Louis David in Round 2 Tiebreak. YOUR VOTE SURE COUNTS!
  • Finally lost, to El Greco in another Round 2 Tiebreak.

Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting, but likely much longer.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Two Things I Stopped Doing, but Have Started Doing Again

#1 - Geohashing

In April 2012, I had a bit of a crisis of faith in geohashing, and that summer -- usually high geohashing season -- I gradually petered out and quit, and became a confirmed ex-geohasher.  Then, about a year ago, I went on a few convenient expeditions, and then structured a big aimless roadtrip around geohashing, and before you could say boo I was back in action. 


If you don't know me personally, you probably think I am misspelling "geocaching."  No.  Geocaching is a perfectly respectable game where people hide little boxes around the landscape, and then give you coordinates and perhaps clues as to how to find them.  I occasionally do a little geocaching, if I want to go for a walk and need a destination, but I don't especially care for it.  The hide-and-seek aspect makes me feel foolish, possibly because I am pretty bad at it.

Geohashing is the quest not for a hidden box but for a random point, generated daily (and on Friday for the weekends) by a complex formula.  Most days, you check the point in the morning and see that your local "hashpoint" is inaccessible in one of a hundred ways -- in water, in mountains, on a farm or other private property, down a deep canyon, etc.  But sometimes, the hashpoint is accessible, and then you go there, take a picture or two, and write it up for the geohashing wiki.

Could you give us an example?

I've talked about geohashing before, but I bring it up again because frequent voter and commenter Morgan has brought to my attention the Eupeode's Map application.  This is one of a number of websites that will calculate your local hashpoints for you, but it is both very, very good, and makes the concept relatively clear for new geohashers.  Here, for instance, is what the hashpoints looked like last Saturday around my home graticule of Portland, Oregon:

Most of the surrounding hashpoints were in mountains and forests, but the one in Portland itself looked promising!  I zoomed in:

This looked extremely excellent -- right on a footpath in a public park near an industrial area.  Eagerly I programmed my GPS and headed for the point!  However, in this case....

...the lake had swollen with the spring rains, and I was twarted.  But the point is, I had an adventure!  Kind of. 

Hopefully, Niece #4 has better luck today in the parking lot that I sent her to in her home graticule.

Anyway, geohashing is a fine pastime, and everyone should be doing it.

#2 - The Bible Blog

MichaelReadstheBible never really came back from Christmas Break 2009, but it staggered along in dribs and drabs to fall 2011 before I put it in mothballs altogether.  But last Monday, it rose back to life phoenix-like, or perhaps zombie-like, right where it left off at Jeremiah 26.  There's another post today. 

How can I be sure that it's really back, on the strength of two measly posts?  Fair question!  But I really want it to be back, hence sticking my neck out publicly here.  A Monday publication date may mean that I skip some Mondays here at IAT, but I bet you can cope with that.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round One: Klee v. Klein!

Paul Klee
1879 - 1940


Yves Klein
1928 - 1962


Vote for the artist of your choice! Votes go in the comments. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Saint of the Month: Saint Wicterp of Augsburg!

St. Wicterp of Augsburg

AKA: Wigbert, Wiho, Wicho, Wicbpert

Feast Day: April 18.

Really Existed? Yes.
Timeframe: The Eighth Century. The saint lists have him dying in 749, but this probably needs to be looked at.
Place: The area that would eventually be called "Germany."

Credentials: Recognized by tradition.
Martyrdom: None.

Patron Saint of: No known tradition of patronage.
Symbolism: No known artistic tradition or image.

After Saint Valentine’s Day and Saint Patrick’s Day, there’s no point in pretending we aren’t on a somewhat subdued level today, on Saint Wicterp of Augsburg’s Day. Saint Wicterp doesn’t ever attract a lot of attention, as far as I’ve noticed. I wonder whether having his feast day fall on Good Friday brings him any extra attention, or just overshadows him completely. Some things are hard to measure.

Your standard catalog of saints picks up Wicterp’s fragmentary biography when he is abbot of Ellwangen, which according to a major open-source online encyclopedia was an important German monastery from its founding in 764 through the fifteenth century. Ellwangen's founding date of 764 is a troubling detail in the historical record, since Wicterp is supposed to have died in 749. (although I’ve found one reference saying that he “was bishop about 739 or 768.”)

From The Biographical Index of the Middle Ages.  "749?" indeed. 

 During his tenure at Ellwangen, St. Wicterp is said to have been a major player in the foundation of additional important abbeys at Füssen, Wessobrünn, and Kempten. I made the mistake of looking up the conventional dates when these abbeys were founded, and see that Füssen is dated to the early 800s, Wessobrünn to 753, and Kempten to “about 700.”  Two were founded after St. Wicterp’s death, in other words, and the other well before his working life began.

Frankly, it is going to take a hagiographer with actual credentials to sort this all out.

“Eventually,” or “later,” Wicterp was elected to the bishopric of Augsburg. That’s about all the standard histories have to say about it.

I found an footnote, however, that suggests that St. Wicterp might be a quietly important figure in the history of European music.

From The Monks of the West, 1872.
I also found a survey of the history of European coins that, although it only mentions St. Wicterp in passing, is a fun illustration of how history can take on strange textures if you look at it through the lens of a specific interest.

"approx. 738 - before 772"???  Where's a medieval historian when you actually need one?!
 May I be the first to wish you and your family a happy, healthy Saint Wicterp of Augsburg's Day?  I bet I can!  Since there are no established traditions (chocolate hearts, green beer) for the day, I encourage you to suggest new ones in the comments!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament Second-Round Elimination: Giorgione v. Giulio Romano!

Leaving the Tournament this week are two guys who could beat Gilbert and George, but who lost their other two matches. Both Giambologna and Harold Gilman get leave us with records of 1-2, Giambologna (14 cumulative votes for, 20 against) falling to Giorgione and Gilman (14-23) overpowered by Giulio Romano.

The other thing that Giorgione and Giulio Romano have in common, besides Italian heritage, the years 1492 to 1510 (Giorgione was a grown-up, Giulio Romano was a kid), and haven beaten the guys who beat Gilbert and George, is that they are the two artists that Giotto beat on the way to his Third Round match with Giacometti. The old-school Florentine beat Giulio Romano 8-3 and Giorgione 6-4. Do those numbers imply that Giorgione has a big edge in this contest? If you've watched Tournament results for long, you'll know that it doesn't always work like that!

c. 1477 - 1510
  • Beat Luca Giordano by a two-vote spread in Round 1. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!
  • Lost to Giotto in Round 2 by a two-vote spread. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!
  • Beat sculptor Giambologna in the Left Bracket Second Round by several votes. Which is not to say that your vote doesn't count.

Giulio Romano
1492 - 1546

Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting, but likely much longer.