Friday, October 18, 2019

The Ladder of Art -- Week #44


Cast your votes for up to four of these seven artists by Friday October 25.  For clarifications, consult the Ladder of Art FAQ.




Last Week's Results

1. Daugbigny: 9
1. Chase: 9
3. Judd: 4
3. Poliakoff: 4
5. Koons: 2
6. Hamilton: 1
7. Soulages: 0



This Week's Contest



Marino Marini
1901 - 1980
Italian

Tournament Record: Tied for 392nd. Lost to John Martin and Masaccio. 9 votes for, 16 votes against (.360).





Allen Jones
b. 1937
British

Tournament Record: Tied for 392nd. Lost to Jacob Jordaens and Donald Judd. 9 votes for, 16 votes against (.360).





Hans Holbein
1497ish - 1543
German; worked in Britain

Tournament Record: Tied for 392nd. He, Hans, lost to Winslow Homer and Gerrit van Honthorst. 9 votes for, 16 votes against (.360).





Serge Poliakoff
1906 - 1969
Russian; worked in France

Tournament Record: Tied for 399th. Lost to Sigmar Polke and Antonio del Pollaiolo. 7 votes for, 13 votes against (.350).
  • Tied for Fourth in Week #42.
  • Tied for Third in Week #43.





Wilfredo Lam
1902 - 1982
Cuban; worked in France

Tournament Record: Tied for 401st. Lost to Frantisek Kupka and Thomas Cole. 8 votes for, 15 votes against (.348).
  • Placed Third in Week #41. 
  • Tied for First in Week #42.





Donald Judd
1928 - 1994
American

Tournament Record: Tied for 405th. Lost to Frida Kahlo, beat Allen Jones, and lost to Gwen John. 13 votes for, 25 votes against (.342).
  • Tied for Second, Week #40. 
  • Placed Fourth, Week #41. 
  • Tied for Fourth, Week #42.
  • Tied for Third, Week #43.






Canaletto
1697 - 1768
Italian (Venetian); also worked in England

Tournament Record: Placed 448th. Beat Robert Campin, then lost to Caravaggio and Alexander Calder. 7 votes for, 17 votes against (.292).
  • Placed First in Week #24. 
  • Placed First again in Week #26. 
  • Placed First again in Week #28. 
  • And again in Week #30. 
  • And again in Week #32. 
  • And again in Week #34.
  • And again in Week #36. 
  • And again in Week #38. 
  • And again in Week #40. 
  • Tied for First in Week #42.





Cast up to four votes in the comments by Friday morning!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Element of the Month: Selenium!

October's Element of the Month:

Selenium!
Se
34

Atomic Mass: 78.971 amu
Melting Point: 221 °C
Boiling Point: 685 °C

You may remember that a few Elements back, when we were chatting about Tin, the idea of "allotropes" came up. We talk about allotropes when an element can take more than one form without changing state -- if it has two different forms it can take that are both solids, for example. Tin, for instance, can be a bright, shiny, useful, malleable metal, or -- if you get it too cold, for instance -- can be a dull, grey, hateful, useless powder.

Selenium, October 2019's Element of the Month, is all about the allotropes. If you isolate it through a chemical reaction and just dry it out or whatever, you get kind of a red powder. It's not a silvery-grey metal! But then, Selenium is not a metal. It is, in fact, what chemists call a "non-metal." It's like Sulfur, for instance. Indeed, Selenium is right under Sulfur in the periodic table, and they hang out together a lot in the mineralogical sense, so it's not surprising that it forms a similar sort of powder, except that it's a sober brick-red instead of Sulfur's irrepressibly cheerful yellow.

But let's say you melt elemental Selenium quickly. Whoa! It morphs into "beads," which are these little semigloss black pellets shaped like oversized red blood cells. Or, if you put it into a solution and evaporate out the solution, you can get one of three kinds of bright red crystals. If you heat it up slowly, it might morph into a dull grey allotrope.


The Centerfold!


Selenium was discovered by Jöns Jakob Berzelius, last seen in these pages discovering Thorium, and Johan Gottlieb Gahn, who was last seen letting his friends Torbern Bergman and Carl Wilhelm Scheele get all the credit for his discovery of Manganese. Gahn was a young fellow of 29 when he came up with Manganese, but by the time he and Berzelius found a reddish impurity in their sulfuric acid factory he was 72 years old. You might think a man of his years would be thinking in terms of a legacy in the annals of chemistry, but no -- once again he punted on the publishing and let Berzelius handle the write-up. He just didn't like publishing.  That's why Berzelius, like Bergman and especially Scheele, remains a well known figure in the history of science today.  All Johan Gottlieb Gahn ever did is foster the industrial revolution in Sweden and make massive bank.

Updated Score:
Carl Wilhelm Scheele - 26.9K Wiki Article
Jöns Jacob Berzelius - 21.1K Wiki Article
Torbern Bergman - 7.5K Wiki Article
Johan Gottlieb Gahn - 3.5K Wiki Article

The grey allotrope of Selenium is a semiconductor, meaning it has a moderate conductivity to electricity that can be controlled in various useful ways. It is also photoconductive, which means it becomes more conductive to electricity in brighter light. Which frankly sounds crazy, but apparently it's true. In fact, it's not even unique, which is why Selenium isn't in nearly as much demand in today's electronics industry as it used to be. Other semiconductors and photoconductors are cheaper and more efficient. That leaves Selenium with various niche applications, but you know what we do with half of the volume we produce of it? We put it in commercial glass, which stains it just a little bit red. That sounds like a terrible idea, except for that there are iron impurities in glass-making silicon that tend to make it just a little bit blue-green. Getting the red in there evens out the tone to what we read as a nice, neutral clear.

You need a little bit of Selenium for your enzymes and what-not to function properly, but you are getting enough. Don't go out of your way to get more, or you'll give yourself selenosis, which would be a real drag.


Selenium, an art print by Spanish illustrator Alvaro Cubero, who
sells his work here.




Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Ladder of Art -- Week #43


Cast your votes for up to four of these seven artists by Friday October 18.  For clarifications, consult the Ladder of Art FAQ.





Last Week's Results

1. Canaletto: 6
1. Lam: 6
3. Daubigny: 5
4. Judd:
4
4. Poliakoff: 4
6. Gentile da Fabriano: 3
7. Sickert: 1



This Week's Contest



Jeff Koons
born 1955
American

Tournament Record: Placed 395th. Beat Willem de Kooning before losing to Krøyer and Raoul Hausmann. 13 votes for, 25 votes against (.342).






Pierre Soulages
Born 1919
French

Tournament Record: Placed 396th. Lost to Sodoma; beat Snyders, then lost to Spilliaert. 11 votes for, 20 votes against (.355).






Richard Hamilton
1922 - 2011
British

Tournament Record: Placed 397th. Lost to Wilhelm Hammershoi, beat Philip Guston, lost to Barbara Hepworth. 12 votes for, 22 votes against (.353).





Serge Poliakoff
1906 - 1969
Russian; worked in France

Tournament Record: Tied for 399th. Lost to Sigmar Polke and Antonio del Pollaiolo. 7 votes for, 13 votes against (.350).
  • Tied for Fourth in Week #42.





Donald Judd
1928 - 1994
American

Tournament Record: Tied for 405th. Lost to Frida Kahlo, beat Allen Jones, and lost to Gwen John. 13 votes for, 25 votes against (.342).
  • Tied for Second, Week #40. 
  • Placed Fourth, Week #41. 
  • Tied for Fourth, Week #42.





William Merritt Chase
1849 - 1916
American

Tournament Record: Tied for 439th. Beaten by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and Christo. 6 votes for, 14 votes against (.300).
  • Placed Second, Week #26.
  • Tied for First, Week #27.
  • Placed First, Week #29.
  • Placed First, Week #31.
  • Tied for Second, Week #33. 
  • Tied for Second again, Week #34. 
  • Tied for First, Week #35. 
  • Placed First in Week #37. 
  • Placed First in Week #39. 
  • Placed First in Week #41.





Charles-François Daubigny
1817 - 1878
French

Tournament Record: Placed 505th.  Lost to Salvador Dali and Aelbert Cuyp. 4 votes for, 26 votes against (.133).
  • Finished First in all of the even-numbered Ladder Weeks #2 - #20.
  • Tied for First, Week #22. 
  • Placed Third in Week #24. 
  • Tied for First, Week #25.
  • Tied for First, Week #27. 
  • Tied for Second, Weeks #29 - #32. 
  • Tied for Second, Week #33.
  • Tied for Second again in Week #34. 
  • Tied for First, Week #35.
  • Tied for Second, Weeks #37 - #40. 
  • Placed Second, Week #41. 
  • Placed Third in Week #42.





Cast up to four votes in the comments by Friday morning!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Ladder of Art -- Week #42


Cast your votes for up to four of these seven artists by Sunday October 6.  For clarifications, consult the Ladder of Art FAQ.


I seem to be struggling a little with the publication schedule.


Last Week's Results

1. Chase: 7
2. Daubigny: 6
3. Lam
: 5
4. Judd: 4
5. Amigoni: 2
5. Motherwell: 2
7. Della Quercia: 1



This Week's Contest



Gentile da Fabriano
c.1370 - 1427
Italian

Tournament Record: Placed 398th. Lost to Artemisia Gentileschi, then beat Mark Gertler before falling to David Hockney. 13 votes for, 24 votes against (.351).







Walter Sickert
1860 - 1942
German, worked in Britain

Tournament Record: Tied for 399th. Lost to Jan Siberechts and Cindy Sherman. 7 votes for, 13 votes against (.350).





Serge Poliakoff
1906 - 1969
Russian; worked in France

Tournament Record: Tied for 399th. Lost to Sigmar Polke and Antonio del Pollaiolo. 7 votes for, 13 votes against (.350).






Wilfredo Lam
1902 - 1982
Cuban; worked in France

Tournament Record: Tied for 401st. Lost to Frantisek Kupka and Thomas Cole. 8 votes for, 15 votes against (.348).
  • Placed Third in Week #41.





Donald Judd
1928 - 1994
American

Tournament Record: Tied for 405th. Lost to Frida Kahlo, beat Allen Jones, and lost to Gwen John. 13 votes for, 25 votes against (.342).
  • Tied for Second, Week #40. 
  • Placed Fourth, Week #41.





Canaletto
1697 - 1768
Italian (Venetian); also worked in England

Tournament Record: Placed 448th. Beat Robert Campin, then lost to Caravaggio and Alexander Calder. 7 votes for, 17 votes against (.292).
  • Placed First in Week #24. 
  • Placed First again in Week #26. 
  • Placed First again in Week #28. 
  • And again in Week #30. 
  • And again in Week #32. 
  • And again in Week #34.
  • And again in Week #36. 
  • And again in Week #38. 
  • And again in Week #40.





Charles-François Daubigny
1817 - 1878
French

Tournament Record: Placed 505th.  Lost to Salvador Dali and Aelbert Cuyp. 4 votes for, 26 votes against (.133).
  • Finished First in Ladder Week #2.
  • Finished First again in Week #4.
  • ...and again in Week #6.
  • ...and in Week #8.
  • ...and in Week #10. 
  • ...and in Week #12. 
  • ...and in Week #14. 
  • ...and in Week #16.
  • ...and in Week #18. 
  • ...and in Week #20. 
  • Tied for First, Week #22. 
  • Placed Third in Week #24. 
  • Tied for First, Week #25.
  • Tied for First, Week #27. 
  • Tied for Second, Week #29. 
  • Placed Second, Week #30. 
  • Placed Second again, Week #31.
  • And again, Week #32. 
  • Tied for Second, Week #33.
  • Tied for Second again in Week #34. 
  • Tied for First, Week #35.
  • Tied for Second, Week #37. 
  • Tied for Second again in Week #38.
  • And again, Week #39. 
  • And again, Week #40. 
  • Placed Second, Week #41.





Cast up to four votes in the comments by Saturday morning!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Saint of the Month: St. Cleopas


St. Cleopas

AKA: Possibly "Clopas."  There seems to be two schools of thought about whether Cleopas and Clopas are the same guy.
Feast Day: September 25 in Catholicism; however, October 30 in Eastern Orthodoxy and November 10 for the Copts.

Really Existed? He's in scripture, which can be anything from absolute proof to no evidence at all, depending on your mindset.
Timeframe: Would have likely been 10 to 25 years older than Jesus.
Place: Jerusalem. 

Credentials: By tradition.
Martyrdom: None.

Patron Saint of: No known patronage.
Symbolism: Shown by artists in the context of the story of the Road to Emmaus.

The Road to Emmaus is a concept I'd heard of, but I didn't really know what it was, because I am an ignoramus, and didn't pay attention in Sunday school, and haven't made it past Jonah in the Bible.  It turns out that it is one of the first sightings of the resurrected Jesus Christ, as narrated in Luke 24:13-27. 

Here's the story: Two folks are walking towards Emmaus, a village outside of Jerusalem, talking about how sad they are about this whole crucifixion business that went down over the weekend.  As they walk, they encounter the risen Jesus, but he's incognito and they don't recognize him.  He asks why they're so blue, and they say that there was this awesome prophet who they liked and thought might be the Messiah, but he got killed by the Romans on Friday."  At which point Jesus says "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!  Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" which is actually maybe a little hard on them.  

Jesus goes on to "expound... to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."  That confused me a bit, since I tend to conflate "Scriptures" with "Gospels," and it can be deduced that the Gospels were in fact not yet written at this moment; however, what's really going on of course is that Jesus is citing Old Testament writings that presumably point towards his own coming and recent execution -- although, at this point he still hasn't let Cleopas and his companion know who he is.

About this time, they get to Emmaus.  Jesus looks like he's going to keep going, but they persuade him to overnight with them.  However, at dinner he first reveals his identity to them and then vanishes.  They are all like "OMG," and even though its getting dark they start back to Jerusalem right away to find the disciples, who they find are still wide awake and already discussing the other Jesus sightings that have been happening.  At that point, Jesus appears among them again -- but from here on, there is no special mention of St. Cleopas, who is just one person in a small crowd of disciples and apostles.

Now then, there is apparently another figure who shows up in the Gospel of John and various apocryphal writings names Clopas.  It's reasonable to wonder if there's a typo and Cleopas and Clopas are the same guy, in which case things get interesting for St. Cleopas, as Clopas is thought to be a brother of St. Joseph, who is of course Jesus's... well... earthly father?  Adoptive human father?  Step-dad?  This would make him Jesus's uncle, which would be both quite an honor and help explain why he was feeling so bad on the Road to Emmaus.  No less a figure than the great Bishop Epiphanius "adds that Joseph and Cleopas were brothers, sons of 'Jacob, surnamed Panther.'"  This last raises the intriguing thought that, if we were to apply modern Western naming conventions, Jesus's last name would be "Panther," which would certainly be rather a rather badass revelation here in the English-speaking world.  This is no doubt complete hogwash, of course.

Cleopas's sainthood appears to be a matter of being close to the scene of the action, and perhaps his rumored family connections.  For such a universally recognized saint, he is by no means a major figure.  He is not mentioned, for example, in any of the four volumes of the L&T hagiographical collection.

Have a great feast day of St. Cleopas!

St. Cleopas (middle) as portrayed by Rowan LeCompte and Irene Matz LeCompte, Third Station of the Resurrection: The Walk to Emmaus (detail), 1970, in the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.   Blogger Victoria Emily Jones, who also took this photograph, discusses why St. Cleopas's companion is often thought to be a woman, and shows great additional examples of the Emmaus meet-up as imagined by artists. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Ladder of Art -- Week #41


Cast your votes for up to four of these seven artists by Saturday September 28.  For clarifications, consult the Ladder of Art FAQ.


Week #40 saw three newcomers all survive, while two veterans fell off the Ladder -- the first time that's happened, if memory serves.  Let's see if this week's newbs, both gentlemen of the 20th century, have the same good fortune!


Last Week's Results

1. Canaletto: 7
2. Daubigny: 5
2.
Judd: 5
4. Della Quercia: 3
4. Amigoni: 3
6. Kitaj: 2
6. Ivanov: 2



This Week's Contest




Robert Motherwell
1915 - 1991
American

Tournament Record: Tied for 401st. Lost to the Master of Moulins and Arthur Dove. 8 votes for, 15 votes against (.348).






Wilfredo Lam
1902 - 1982
Cuban; worked in France

Tournament Record: Tied for 401st. Lost to Frantisek Kupka and Thomas Cole. 8 votes for, 15 votes against (.348).





Jacopo Amigoni
1685-1752
Spanish

Tournament Record: Placed 403rd. Lost to Carl Andre and Alma-Tadema. 9 votes for, 17 votes against (.346).
  • Tied for Fourth, Week #40






Jacopo Della Quercia
1374 - 1438
Siennese

Tournament Record: Placed 404th. Lost to Sir Henry Raeburn, beat Francesco Primaticcio, and lost to Ljubov Popova. 10 votes for, 19 votes against (.345).
  • Tied for Fourth, Week #40






Donald Judd
1928 - 1994
American

Tournament Record: Tied for 405th. Lost to Frida Kahlo, beat Allen Jones, and lost to Gwen John. 13 votes for, 25 votes against (.342).
  • Tied for Second, Week #40.






William Merritt Chase
1849 - 1916
American

Tournament Record: Tied for 439th. Beaten by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and Christo. 6 votes for, 14 votes against (.300).
  • Placed Second, Week #26.
  • Tied for First, Week #27.
  • Placed First, Week #29.
  • Placed First, Week #31.
  • Tied for Second, Week #33. 
  • Tied for Second again, Week #34. 
  • Tied for First, Week #35. 
  • Placed First in Week #37. 
  • Placed First in Week #39.






Charles-François Daubigny
1817 - 1878
French

Tournament Record: Placed 505th.  Lost to Salvador Dali and Aelbert Cuyp. 4 votes for, 26 votes against (.133).
  • Finished First in Ladder Week #2.
  • Finished First again in Week #4.
  • ...and again in Week #6.
  • ...and in Week #8.
  • ...and in Week #10. 
  • ...and in Week #12. 
  • ...and in Week #14. 
  • ...and in Week #16.
  • ...and in Week #18. 
  • ...and in Week #20. 
  • Tied for First, Week #22. 
  • Placed Third in Week #24. 
  • Tied for First, Week #25.
  • Tied for First, Week #27. 
  • Tied for Second, Week #29. 
  • Placed Second, Week #30. 
  • Placed Second again, Week #31.
  • And again, Week #32. 
  • Tied for Second, Week #33.
  • Tied for Second again in Week #34. 
  • Tied for First, Week #35.
  • Tied for Second, Week #37. 
  • Tied for Second again in Week #38.
  • And again, Week #39. 
  • And again, Week #40.





Cast up to four votes in the comments by Saturday morning!