Exclusive glass vases and Christmas tree decorations that only exist in one or two samples, aside from high price, most often also have in common unique production technology that is mastered by representatives of a rare profession – glass-blower. The history of the craft has lasted for a couple of millennia with some old secrets of handmade production still kept under seal.
The fact, that molten sand turns into a ropy substance that, when cooled down, graduates into a completely different state, was first discovered by attentive Egyptians some five thousand years ago. Modern scientists during various excavations find old frescos depicting craftsmen skillfully blowing glass bubbles through a pipe. As to material proofs, separate elements testify to the existence of such production in ancient times of pharaohs: shatters of jars, vases, statuettes and even bijouterie. Small green bead that allegedly served as an adornment for a noble Egyptian was found near Thebes – ancient city situated on the east side of Nile – and then sent to Berlin museum for exhibition.
From the country of the pyramids glass blowing craft started its progress through all the continents developing and improving sweepingly to reach the peak of perfection in Europe where maestros keep creating true masterpieces till now. In Italy traditions are treated with special reverence. First glass plants were launched in the city on water – in Venice. Having won popularity among citizens thank to their craft, local “skillful hands” became celebrities of the place. Not only native Italians but also many visitants longed to make it to their flock.
Willing to keep the secret of the Venetian glass recipe, in 13th century authorities of the county allocated the craftsmen a certain place to work and live and compulsorily deported them to the nearest isle of Murano. It was forbidden as strictly as Lent to leave it at will. Those who disobey were likely to get supreme penalty. But at the same time “classified” profession was so prestigious that the richest families sought their daughters in marriage to the experts…
Workshops where items for European noblemen were created are still in operation in the area. Among Italian seigniors an adornment or a set of glasses made of Murano Glass is considered a symbol of an excellent taste and good investment. Today old stuff like ordinary earrings or kitchen utensils became true museum pieces. And although the way to the isle and back is open for every willing one, glass makers prefer not to unveil all the secrets of production technology. Sure enough, a couple of schools operate here where basics of the profession are being taught but still only locals are accepted as students. The exception was probably made for Ritsue Mishima, originally Japanese but a citizen of Italy. Former stylist became one of the few ladies who distinguished herself in this male craft. It all started commonly and in a “feminine” way: Ritsue couldn’t pick a vase that would suit her house. As the saying goes, if you want a thing well done, do it yourself. And that’s the idea which she followed and started cooperating with Murano artisans.
Craftsmen in Czech Republic keep working as diligently; there a glass item was recently created to get the honor of being added to Guinness World Records. It was a giant bottle of whiskey almost two-meter high that easily holds 228 liters of the drink. The majority of Czech handyman is “concentrated” in a town of Nový Bor situated in the North of the country nearby German border. Among population of a little more than ten thousand persons, one third is glass blowers. Strewn wooden shapes and spiraling-up smoke are common place here. In many yards behind picturesque trees and flowers domestic mini-factories are hidden. As a rule, glassmaker’s business hours start at dawn and last till 2 to 3 p.m. Modern technologies in combination with centuries-old secrets rise demand for local craftsmen’s masterpieces, who, unlike Murano ones, willingly invite tourists to watch metamorphoses that occur to simple sand. Those, who become especially swept with the performance, can enroll for a special course and master the art by themselves.
Speaking of glass blowing in European countries, it is worth mentioning German traditions that take shape of Christmas tree decorations production to a greater extent. First “blowing” factory emerged in Germany in 1848. In that time due to poor apple harvest aesthetic side of the holiday became endangered. Craftsmen who decided to create glass analogues of fruit came to the rescue. The experience turned out a success and German Christmas trees got ornamented with first Christmas spheres.
About Picasso as a distinctive artist, graphic artist and sculptor, we know to some extent everything. Meanwhile, his other incarnations are pushed into the background. Ilya Ehrenburgh once very concisely described Pablo Picasso’s relations with his era: “20th century found in him its own dynamite expert, its own philosopher and its own poet”.
Anime admirers would never pass by contemporary Japanese art. Especially if this trend is directly related to manga comics. Artist Takashi Murakami was the first to think about how to dub an art that catches inspiration in every new anime, but speaks of eternal values, interlacing with the ethnic canvases of Western artists.
Modern cities cannot be imagined without murals – large-scale in size works of picture art that decorate buildings. Not only we have gathered most outstanding works in our collection but also tried to learn as many interesting things as possible about this art movement.
The artist from New Zealand Hayley King working under the brand FLOX is well-known all over the world for the fascinating pictures showing the enlightened beauty of wild nature. Her colorful birds, picturesque landscapes, and fairy-tale-like animals remind us about the necessity to get united with the primordial nature. Hayley King creates the type of art giving inspiration and vitality. She is concentrated onto recognition of ancient heritage of the sacral places and making it spread among the wide publics. In the interview the artist told us about her social projects, travels and the modern cultural trends inherent to New Zealand.
When I, as a little girl, for the first time passed my hand over trimmed bush, my palm got scratched with sharp edges of twigs and lasting arborvitae fragrance hit my nose. Mesmerized, I was not able to take my eyes away from the cones, balls and squares that surrounded me in the park of a small resort town. I felt like being inside a fairy tale, where behind the leaves I could notice a smile of the Cheshire Cat.
You often got convinced that skilful hands of a master who puts life into his creation, can transform humble tree stump into a charming violin, piece of plaster becomes an ancient sculpture, and even clay tile looks like a work of fine art.
Twelve-string guitar, the twilight of Portuguese nights, candles, and soul-gripping voice… Dramatic incentives of fado song tell about unrequited love. It cannot appear in the crossroads of destinies; however, it enables feelings to embody into the touching sounds of Portuguese romances.
The Japanese are one of those peoples who zealously respect the ancient traditions. They respect old age, being interested in ancestors and often know the family ancestry by heart. With such a worldview, it is not surprising that a unique technique for the restoration of kintsugi appeared exactly there. Read about it in Outlook.
The eccentric elder Katsushika Hokusai was the real star of the Edo period, the creative genius and the brutal debtor of the half of his city. He used at least 30 names, changed 93 houses and created a lot of prints, drawings and paintings. His internationally recognized print The Great Wave off Kanagawa is mesmerizing. But only a few people know that this block printing, as well as many other works, was created by Hokusai with assistance of his daughter - artist Katsushika Ōi, lost in time and overshadowed by her genius father crazy about art.
‘Love evolves when one looks in the eyes of the person beloved seeing there God’, in such a way the lines of some Arabian song called Qawali is translated. The authorship of this chant is ascribed to Eastern strangers Sufi who tending to find the sense of existence strolled around the half an Earth bare-footed. In the travels they composed songs where they told narration describing what they had to endure.
Land-art is not simply the landscape design but also the whole direction in art which in thee 21-st century considered one of the most important when only lazy people do not speak about the ‘green technologies’ and environment. The names of stars of such an activity have sturdily come into the speech of the tutors, critics, and connoisseurs, especially they outline Patrick Dougherti with his unbelievable works.
"Dali in a skirt", "The greatest provoker of the last century", shocking and inspiring confidence in the almost limitless potential of man, Frida Kahlo surprised contemporaries and continues to admire the admirers of her work today. The people of Kiev can now look behind the scenes of the life of the Mexican genius. With the support of the Embassy of Mexico in Ukraine in the National Museum named after Taras Shevchenko an exhibition of photographs devoted to the relations between Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera was opened.
Yesterday I created a Universe. I took some peas, rice, buckwheat, millet, black and white pepper seeds and cardamom. Grabbed a handful of coffee and aniseeds. Then it all acquired a centre. It kept growing and calming my thoughts. When the last seed landed in the circle, I felt forgotten harmony again, heard birds singing through the noise of cars on the avenue, sensed fragrance of violets that a neighbor of mine was growing on her balcony and a recollection of Funtik from floor 5 and his tail evoked a flush of tenderness towards the shaggy monster.
More than fifteen hundred years ago Romans were awe struck when they caught the very first sight of the Sistine Chapel. After that masters of painting were born and dead as well as whole pictural art styles. And contemporaries of you and me gape on the distinguished temple. However, while admiring another line intricacy and allusive painting theme, bear in mind that beneath the plot of glossy surface, as per usual, stand painfully familiar disputes with an impatient client, unpleasant surprises from nature and damaged health of painters-executants.
Dirty cars are like a host for an artist. One may treat such art differently. Someone will wrinkle his nose and disdainfully wrestle his clothes. Others necessarily want to put a finger in such a picture in order to check the fragility of the "canvas" and smear its outlines. However, others will definitely make a selfie. However, nobody can pass by.
In every art there are formats and rules – once in “mainstream” an Artist won’t have to starve. Even more so in totalitarian times when every sphere of people’s life is controlled and affected and selfhood has to be forgotten as such. It is probably in the face of a system natural talents emerge for their work to become immortal. Today Outlook recalls one of them, artist Kateryna Bilokur.
Only dancing and wearing mask, Korean peasants were able to express their disgust towards rudeness or greed of the hosts or apply to some deity with extraordinary request. Keeping anonymity, the people played out the scenes from life, cried, and laughed. At the end of the performance the destiny awarded the good characters and punished villains.
Behind the window sad eyes of old man peered at Petrograd engulfed by revolutionary fire. This fire spread on his life's work: a proud four-story building was invaded by noisy commissioners and sailors, whose presence seemed a cruel joke after regular customers. Workshop owner Carl Gustavovich Fabergé, apparently, noticed in this chaos approaching decay of his career. However, he could have a secret gleam of hope for another life of his heritage. If only he knew that it would come true, maestro would hardly have lost his spiritual strength...
We have amber flowing through our veins, joke the Balts. They believe that a sunny stone comes from tear drops of their goddess Jūratė. According to legend, she was careless enough to fall in love with a mere mortal fisherman named Kastytis who day by day cast his nets to the Baltic Sea. Jūratė forgot that immortal ones are not allowed to enjoy simple human happiness, she fascinated the young man to the bottom of the sea into her amber castle, and there the couple in love lost count of days and nights. On hearing this, the lord of gods Perkūnas decided to punish them: bolt of lightening stroke mortal lover, and disobedient lady was chained within her precious possessions for all eternity. Since then, the grieving goddess cries dropping yellow tears, and waters of the Baltic carry them to the shore for others to enjoy.