Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round 3: Pissarro v. Pollock!

Camille Pissarro
1831 - 1903
Caribbean-born; French

Lambasted Andrea Pisano in Round 1.
Came from behind to beat 15th century master Pisanello in Round 2.

Jackson Pollock
1912 - 1956

Defeated Antonio del Pollaiolo in Round 1.
Beat Sigmar Polke by a single vote in Round 2. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!!

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.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round Two: Redon v. Rego!

Odilon Redon
1840 - 1916

Beat Robert Rauschenberg decisively in Round 1.

Paula Rego
Born 1935

Demolished Ad Reinhardt in Round 1.

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.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Through History with The New Monday Quiz: the 1280s

In the 1280s, there were a fair number of people who died of old age after living lives that had been relatively stable and unmarked by violent upheaval.  We're not going to talk much about them.   

1. In or around the 1280s, humans settled the last significant landmass outside of the polar regions that they hadn’t already got to. Today, it’s a country of four and a half million. What was this final frontier?

2. Back in 1274, the first attempt by the Mongols to invade Japan was thwarted when their warships and troop transports were destroyed by a typhoon. In spring of 1281, the Mongols launched 140,000 troops in 4,400 ships for a second invasion of Japan. What happened this time?

3. March 30, 1282: The War of the Sicilian Vespers begins:
To the sound of the bells messengers ran through the city calling on the men of Palermo to rise against the oppressor. At once the streets were filled with angry armed men, crying "Death to the French." Every Frenchman they met was struck down. They poured into the inns frequented by the French and the houses where they dwelt, sparing neither man, woman nor child. Sicilian girls who had married Frenchmen perished with their husbands. The rioters broke into the Dominican and Franciscan convents; and all the foreign friars were dragged out and told to pronounce the word "ciciri," whose sound the French tongue could never accurately reproduce. Anyone who failed the test was slain… By the next morning some two thousand French men and women lay dead; and the rebels were in complete control of the city.
What is the name for the kind of test that the rioters used to find out which monks were French?

4. On December 11, 1282, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd was killed in battle; the following June his brother Dafydd was captured. Edward I ordered the construction of a ring of state-of-the-art castles and walled towns to consolidate his control over his new domain. And that was the end of what kingdom as an independent entity?

5. According to tradition, King Ramkhamhaeng the Great invented this set of symbols in 1283. What is it?

6. Daniel, youngest son of Alexander Nevsky, accordingly inherited the dregs of his father's holdings in 1283: an "insignificant trading outpost" that "was little more than a small timber fort in the forest of Central Rus'." Yet by avoiding major conflicts, paying off the Mongols, playing nice with his more powerful brothers, and preying on his weaker neighbors, he began to expand his lands and influence. This was the beginning of the Grand Duchy of ______________.

7. Throughout the 13th century, there were three great Italian naval powers: Genoa, Pisa, and Venice. In August 1284, fleets from two of these city-states met at the Battle of Meloria. With the devastation to the losing side’s fleet, it immediately ceased to be a naval power; within a few decades, it would lose its independence altogether. What city-state lost its future at Meloria?

A slave at birth, [Sakoura Mansa] was freed and became a general in the army of Sundiata Keita.... After a debilitating struggle for succession between Sundiata's sons Ouati Keita and Khalifa Keita and his grandson Abu Bakr, Sakoura seized control of the throne himself in about 1285. Near-contemporary historian Ibn Khaldun records that under Sakura's leadership, the Empire made a number of new conquests (most notably of Gao), becoming the dominant political, economic, and military force in the Western Sudan.
Of which empire did Sakoura Mansa take charge?

9. On December 14, 1287, a storm ruptured a line of low hills, causing “St. Lucia’s Flood.” More then 50,000 people died – but the little town of Amsterdam would henceforth become much more important and prosperous. Why did this flood have so much impact?

10. This was painted in the 1280s. By whom? Was it Carracci, Castagno, Cellini, Christo, or Cimabue?

Through History with The New Monday Quiz: the 1270s

1. The House of Solomon was the imperial family of Ethiopia from 1270 to 1974.
2. The death of Louis IX and the changing priorities of Edward of England were the end, not just of the Eighth and Ninth Crusades, but pretty much of "The Crusades" in general.
3. The famous Venetian travel writer: Marco Polo.
4. An interregnum is a period of time where they're trying to figure out who is supposed to be king, pretty much.
5. Kamikaze means "Divine Wind."  It was a great storm that, after a few inconclusive battles, destroyed and scattered the ships of the invasion fleet, saving the Japanese for the nonce.
6. The spicy French best seller was The Romance of the Rose.  Hubba hubba.
7. The red St. George's cross on white is the flag of England.
8. The Bishop of Urgell and the French head of state are co-rulers of Andorra.
9. The Cholas of South India met their end in 1279.
10. Kublai Khan was now emperor of all China.

Among the five brave, wise, knowledgeable, and dashingly good-looking contestants, Christine M and DrSchnell both hit pretty hard again this week... but the original first edition copy of Romance of the Rose goes to back to back winner pfly.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round One: Rodchenko v. Rodin!

Alexander Rodchenko
1891 - 1956


Auguste Rodin
1840 - 1917


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.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Infinite Art Tournament Left Bracket Second-Round Elimination: Morisot v. Léger!

Berthe Morisot
1841 - 1895
  • Defeated Giovanni Battista Moroni in Round 1 by a two-vote swing. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!
  • Lost to Gustave Moreau in Round 2 by a two-vote swing. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!!
  • Beat Henry Moore by a single vote in the Left Bracket Second Round. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!!!!

Fernand Léger
1881 - 1955

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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round Two: Modigliani v. Raphael!

Amedeo Modigliani
1884 - 1920
Italian; worked in France

Tied with Paula Modersohn-Becker in his first try at Round One.
Beat László Moholy-Nagy soundly in a second go at Round 1.

1483 - 1520

Defeated Allan Ramsay in Round 1.

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.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Through History with The New Monday Quiz: the 1270s

The 1270s are starting to feel pretty modern and well documented.  This was the easiest decade quiz to write thus far.  Which is not to say it will be any easier to take.   

1. On August 10, 1270, Yekuno Amlak overthrew the Zagwe dynasty. Claiming decent from the royal family of ancient Axum and ultimately from King Soloman, he established a dynasty that would rule his county continuously until 1974, when the last emperor was deposed in a coup d’état.  What country?

2. In 1270, Louis IX of France took sick and died outside of Tunis; in 1271 prince Edward of England raided and sacked towns in the Eastern Mediterranean, established a brief alliance with the Mongols, and then signed a peace treaty with the Sultan of Egypt. And that was pretty much the end of what?

3. In 1271, a young Venetian merchant set off with his dad and his uncle on a trip to the mysterious East. After he returned 24 years later, he narrated an account of his travels that has pretty much stayed in print ever since. What was his name?

4. In 1273, Rudolf I of German was elected Holy Roman Emperor, ending the 20 year Great Interregnum. What’s an interregnum?

5. In 1274, a Mongol army attempted to invade Japan. Despite superior numbers, technology, and tactics, the Mongols were repulsed by the Japanese. Part of the reason for the Japanese victory was the appearance of a kamikaze – not a suicidal fighter pilot, of course, but the thing the suicidal fighter pilots were allegorically named after. What is a kamikaze?

6. Finished in 1275, this medieval French poem “styled as an allegorical dream vision” claims to be a teaching about the “art of love.” With its “emphasis on sensual language and imagery,” the poem was naturally “both popular and controversial—one of the most widely read works in France for three centuries.” It was translated into numerous European languages. What was the name of this early international best-seller?

7. Originally (and still) the flag of Genoa, the red “St. George’s Cross” began to be used as the flag for what other European country in the 1270s?

8. In 1278, the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix resolved a dispute over a chunk of land in the Pyrenees by agreeing to an unusual arrangement of joint sovereignty. Surprisingly, this setup endures today, with the Count of Foix’s piece of the action having been taken over by the King of Navarre, and then by the French head of state. This is the essential history of what country?

9. We haven’t talked about the Cholas for a long time, and this is our last chance! For, The Pandyas in the south had risen to the rank of a great power who ultimately banished the Hoysalas from Malanadu or Kannada country, who were allies of the Cholas from Tamil country, and the demise of the Cholas themselves ultimately was caused by the Pandyas in 1279. Where was all of this happening?

10. The Cholas were not the only ancient empire to perish in 1279. The newly-organized Yuan Dynasty defeated the Song Dynasty at the Battle of Yamen in that year, extinguishing an imperial line that had been around since 960. Who was now the emperor of all China?

Through History with The New Monday Quiz: the 1260s

1. The Egyptian Mamluks defied Hulagu Khan, the Mongols attacked, and the Egyptians handed them their asses. It was the first major defeat for the Mongols, who would never advance any further to the southwest.
2. That Baptistry would be by Nicola Pisano.
3. The end of the Latin Empire was the rebirth of the Byzantine Empire, or the Roman Empire as they themselves would have had it.
4. Mindaugas is the father of Lithuania.
5. Dadu / Khanbaliq is still the capital; we call it Beijing.
6. The Kingdom of Cusco would eventually accumulate the Inca Empire.
7. Simon de Montfort's big meeting is sometimes called the "Model Parliament," and it was by some reckonings the first real English Parliament.
8. The smart theologian? Thomas Aquinas.
9. Norway turned over Man and the other islands over to Scotland, ending years of war between the two countries.
10. After Clement IV died, the Cardinals took three years to elect a new pope. They clung to their stalemate after having been locked in a room and then having their food reduced to bread and water, and only caved as the roof was being removed.

Excellent answers all around, but I'm going to give the Mindaugas Cup to pfly, who not only shows his work in an amusing and successful fashion, but was the only one to catch on that this was the decade where it stopped going all the Mongols' way.