Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Ladder of Art -- Week #49




There's no feeling on Earth, I've found, like taking your seat for a 40-hour train ride and noticing, right at that moment, that one's laptop computer went missing between your home and the station.  I can't really recommend it, though.

There wasn't much information on the machine that would be exciting for an identity thief or someone of that ilk, but boy was there a lot of material about arbitrary travel, alternative approaches to reading and physical fitness, and democratically-driven art criticism.  Since I have not traditionally been real big on backing up files, it wasn't clear until I got back from the trip if the Ladder of Art was still going to be viable.

Turns out, it is.   We had a tie among the regulars last time around, so there's four new guys this week.  At least one of them will survive!  Or who knows, maybe they all will!




Cast your votes for up to four of these seven artists by Saturday December 8.  For clarifications, consult the Ladder of Art FAQ.




Last Week's Results

1. Daubigny: 7
1. Perugino: 7
3. Holbein: 6
4. Canaletto: 5
5. Beauneveu: 4
6. Salviati: 2
7. Schnabel: 2



This Week's Contest



Jean Dubuffet
1901 - 1985
French

Tournament Record: Tied for 378th. Beat Duccio before falling to Dürer and Dossi. 14 votes for, 24 against (.368).





Otto Dix
1891-1969
German

Tournament Record: Tied for 378th. Beat Jim Dine, then lost to Braque and Denis. 14 votes for, 24 against (.368).





Bruce Nauman
born 1941
American

Tournament Record: Placed 380th. Lost to Barnett Newman and Isamu Noguchi. 7 votes for, 12 against (.368).





Vittore Carpaccio
died 1526
Venetian

Tournament Record: Placed 381st. Beat Caro and Carrà, then lost to Cassatt and Canova. Lowest-ranked ladder artist with two wins in the main Tournament. 18 votes for, 31 against (.367).





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).
  • Tied for First in Week #44.  
  • Tied for Second in Week #46.
  • Placed Second in Week #47.
  • Placed Third in Week #48.





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. 
  • Tied for First in Week #43.
  • Placed First in Week #45.
  • Placed First in Week #47.





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. 
  • Tied for First again in Week #44.
  • Tied for Second in Week #46.
  • Placed Fourth in Week #47. 
  • Placed Fourth in Week #48.





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

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Element of the Month: Cerium!

November's Element of the Month:

Cerium!
Ce
58

Atomic Mass: 141.116 amu
Melting Point: 795 °C
Boiling Point: 3443 °C

Back in October we got to learn about Jöns Jakob Berzelius's role in the discovery of Selenium. Let's "change things up" a little this month, and learn about Jöns Jakob Berzelius's role in the discovery of Cerium. For discover it he did, along with his buddy Wilhelm Hisinger, in 1803. (A brainy German guy named Kaproth discovered it more or less simultaneously, but he tends to get third billing behind the brainy Swedes.) As we've remarked so many times in our coverage of the Elements, brainy Swedes are all over the early history of Chemistry! You'd think that early investment in materials science would have put Sweden on the path to great things, but here they are struggling along with only the world's 22nd largest economy, despite having the 89th largest population.

Anyway, Cerium is one of the Lanthanides or, as chemists don't like us to call them, the "rare earth" elements. Since it's been a while let's review: the Lanthanides are the 15 metallic elements #57 through #71 which you can find at the bottom of most squarish elemental tables with the Actinides, although properly the elemental table should be short and wide, with the Lanthanides and Actinides taking up much of the left half. Lanthanides are promiscuously reactive, so they are never found in a pure form and are very difficult to isolate even in the lab. They have names like Neodymium and Cadolinium and Holmium and Lutetium, the unfamiliarity of which suggest materials that were late to be discovered and that sit a bit out of the mainstream of human commercial and industrial use relative to, say, "Tin" or "Iron."

The Centerfold!
 

All of this means that Cerium's status as probably the most abundant, easiest to isolate, and most heavily used of the Lanthanides is not really much to write home about. It's the 26th most common element in the Earth's crust, up there with Copper, Zinc, and Nickel, but since it is so diluted by its reactivity, it's never found in a concentration that would have made it useful to pre-industrial metallurgy. A cubic centimeter of Cerium left exposed to the atmosphere would spall (meaning rust, essentially) to dust in about a year; that makes it pretty resiliant by Lanthanide standards, but ephemeral as a mayfly in geological terms. Mind you, it also reacts with water and can burst into flame if abraided. You just aren't going to find pure Cerium lying around.

Cerium's practical uses are esoteric and dull, unless you are keenly interested in the photostability of pigments or how Aluminum can be alloyed for improved high temperature performance. Such things are important, of course, but when the big news about Cerium is that you can sprinkle a little into your Aluminum to make it even better, that gives you a pretty clear picture of which is really the A-list element of the two. Cerium is at best the Robin to Aluminum's Batman, know what I'm sayin?

Remember how we've been talking about "allotropes" recently? Cerium has four of them, which is to say that it has four different solid forms that it can take depending on pressure and temperature. But you know what? It doesn't matter one little bit! Since pure Cerium only happens in the lab, its allotropic forms are pretty moot. However, it's worth mentioning that, in whichever form, it is a silvery grey metal. Most descriptions add that it is so "ductile" that you can cut it with a knife. Not with a Cerium knife, though.

Cerium.  The image search says that the artist is "Paul Ch...", and is attached to a dead link, so I'm
honestly not sure who our painter is, nor can I send you to his website.  I like the piece, though.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Ladder of Art -- Week #48


Cast your votes for up to four of these seven artists by Friday November 22.  For clarifications, consult the Ladder of Art FAQ.




Last Week's Results

1. Chase: 9
2. Holbein: 7
3. Perugino: 6
4. Canaletto: 5
5. Palma Vecchio: 3
6. Beccafumi: 2
7. Rosenquist: -1



This Week's Contest



André Beauneveu
active 1361, died c.1402
French

Tournament Record: Placed 382nd. Tied with Domenico Beccafumi, lost to Remedios Varo, beat William Hogarth, and lost to Homer. 18 votes for, 31 against (.367).






Julian Schnabel
Born 1951
American

Tournament Record: Tied for 383rd. Defeated Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, then lost to Egon Schiele and Martin Schongauer. 11 votes for, 19 against (.367).







Francesco Salviati (AKA Francesco de' Rossi)
1510 - 1563
Florentine

Tournament Record: Tied for 383rd. Defeated Robert Ryman, then lost to Rachel Ruysch and Juan Sánchez Cotán. 11 votes for, 19 against (.367).







Perugino
1447ish - 1523
Italian

Tournament Record: Tied for 383rd. Lost to Francis Picabia, beat Max Pechstein, then lost to Piero di Cosimo. 11 votes for, 19 against (.367).
  • Placed Third in Week #47.







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).
  • Tied for First in Week #44.  
  • Tied for Second in Week #46.
  • Placed Second in Week #47.






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. 
  • Tied for First again in Week #44.
  • Tied for Second in Week #46.
  • Placed Fourth in Week #47.






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. 
  • Tied for First, Week #43. 
  • Placed Second, Week #45. 
  • Placed First, Week #46.





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

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Songs of the Fifty States: Ohio

Winter Evening in Lawnfield (c.1887) by Ohio artist De Scott Evans, depicting
Ohioan President James Garfield at home at his Ohio home.



Ohio!

Size: 116,096 km2 (34th)

2018 Population: 11,689,442 (7th)

Population Density (new!): 109/km2 (10th)

Statehood: 1803 (17th), although due to a procedural error Ohio's statehood wasn't formally ratified until 1953.  No, really!

American Human Development Index: 4.78 (36th)

Art Mecca:

I have been in Ohio only three times, never for more than ninety minutes at a stretch, and all three times with the explicit goal of being able to say I had "been in Ohio."  In all three trips, I stopped at a convenience store at least once to make a purchase and thereby really, truly establish that I had been in Ohio, but still I don't feel like I've experienced everything the Buckeye State has to offer.  It is easily my most superficially experienced state.

Meanwhile, we've got longtime friend of the blog Christine M smack dab in the center of the state in Columbus, doing artsy things and working in an artsy job, so I naturally figured the best way to research the Ohio arts scene would be to ask her.  Here's what she said:

I would say the top art museums are the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Toledo Museum of Art and the Cincinnati Art Museum somewhat behind, but nonetheless quite good. Our museum in Columbus is nice, but was not the recipient of robber baron largesse since we had no robber barons at the time. We have Les Wexner now, so we're good with the contemporary art.



Michael 5000's Ohio

First Visited: July 10th, 2005 (45th)
Most Recently Visited: September 9, 2019 (12th)

First Run In: n/a
Best Run: n/a.

Raced In: No.

Have Admired the Visual Arts In: No.
Have Slept Overnight In: No.

Counties Visited: 6/88 (tied for 47th)
% Complete: 6.8% (50th)



Mrs. 5000's Counties Visited: 18/88 (tied for 23rd)
% Complete: 20.5% (39th)
Mrs.5000 First Visited: 1966 (order unclear)
Mrs.5000 Most Recently Visited: August 1990 (approx. 40th)



Atlas of All Roads Traveled




Plans and Aspirations

Obviously at some point I need to get out there and wallow in some Ohioness.

--

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The Ladder of Art -- Week #47


Cast your votes for up to four of these seven artists by Friday November 15.  For clarifications, consult the Ladder of Art FAQ.




Last Week's Results

1. Daubigny: 8
2. Canaletto: 7
2. Holbein: 7
4. Beccafumi: 3
5. Murillo: 2
5. Batoni: 2
7. Judd: 0



This Week's Contest



James Rosenquist
1933 - 2017
American

Tournament Record: Tied for 387th. Defeated Rosselli, lost to Bernini and Rodin. 12 votes for, 21 against (.364).






Perugino
1447ish - 1523
Italian

Tournament Record: Tied for 383rd. Lost to Francis Picabia, beat Max Pechstein, then lost to Piero di Cosimo. 11 votes for, 19 against (.367).







Palma Vecchio
1480ish - 1528
Venetian

Tournament Record: Tied for 383rd. Beat Johann Friedrich Overbeck, then lost to Pannini and Bryan Organ. 11 votes for, 19 against (.367).







Domenico Beccafumi
c.1486 - 1551
Italian

Tournament Record: Placed 391st. Tied with André Beauneveu, lost to Bouguereau and Jasper Johns. 13 votes for, 23 against (.361).
  • Tied for Third in Week #45.
  • Placed Fourth in Week #46.





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).
  • Tied for First in Week #44.  
  • Tie for Second in Week #46.






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. 
  • Tied for First in Week #43.
  • Placed First in Week #45.





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. 
  • Tied for First again in Week #44.
  • Tied for Second in Week #46.





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