cymry: (miyu bliss)
I am thoroughly fascinated by paper art. One day, I'd love to try my hand at this. The basic simplicity of the art is obscured by layer upon layer of curls, cuts and folds, each using such a basic medium.

pictures below the cut )
cymry: (bastet)
I've been reading an account of the artist Dominique-Vivant Denon's travels into Egypt with Napoleon in 1799. He was one of the first Europeans to chronicle that country's monuments, noting discoveries, ways of life, customs, and ruins. He was 51 years old at the time, yet he accompanied the army on their marches throughout baking deserts, through inhospitable climates, and was even obliged to pick up a gun to defend himself.

But mostly, he drew. A lithographer by trade, he was a friend of Napoleon's and was part of his Arts and Science Institute, a company of over 50 "savants" (learned men) who were brought to Egypt along with the army to learn as much as they could.

Denon's drawings caused a sensation throughout Europe. Explorers, artists, treasure-seekers, and archaeologists descended upon Egypt, fascinated by the country Denon depicted. His voice is very human, his frustrations distinctly artistic (being constantly forced to bypass ruins that he could see for lack of time or military escort, being granted only hours or even minutes to sketch sprawling monuments, and being forced to keep up with the army at all times, whose priorities were far more practical). Denon was so successful that Napoleon sent more artists out, to chronicle what Denon couldn't.

His drawings are beautiful, but more than that, they captured a part of Egypt that has been lost to us. Temples that have since been torn down or fallen into ruin, colors that have forever faded from ancient monuments... What a sensation it must have been in Europe, to be presented with such a rich, thriving ancient culture's monuments? In a world without photographs, when travels into far-off lands left the traveler changed but provided little with which to visually stimulate memories or inspire others, to have these drawings laid out before them...

This temple, sketched by Denon, was taken apart by the locals for its limestone, which was used to fertilize fields.

I can't even imagine life before photographs. Memories are so fleeting, they are distorted by time, by knowledge, by wishful thinking.

cut for large picture )


Jun. 19th, 2008 04:30 pm
cymry: (doorway)
there is something worth seeing here.


cymry: (Default)

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