Art Deals of the Day : Gustave Dore MASTER OF IMAGINATION

dore


It’s about time that the 19th century’s most staggering and arguably prolific artist of the fantastic received a worthy hardcover tome, and with the almost sold out 2014 book, DORE:MASTER OF IMAGINATION edited by Phillippe Kaenel, Gustave Dore finally has that acclaim, and his fans finally have that book.

The book however, by shear breadth of Dore’s output, is in no way a comprehensive overview of his output, and is more a very cursory sampling of the different projects and mediums this renaissance man of the 19th century put his hand to.

“I am sorry to have made a mere 100,000 drawings by the age of 33” – Gustave Dore

So it is not perfect, but it is essential and makes a great companion to those quickly going out of print, but wonderful, 1970s Dover paperback compilations of Dore’s work. Whoever the editor at Dover Publishing in the 1970s who spearheaded reprinting Dore’s acclaimed works in affordable but quality paperback volumes, they created a great boon to art lovers everywhere.

inf.34.134.dore

Dore was the master of the meticulous and the detailed and the imaginative, a single one of his painstaking engravings having more complexity and depth and range than most modern day artists produce in a year.

There is this school of thought, that I do not subscribe to, that detail is bad, or unnecessary, or overkill. Largely spearheaded by modern artists incapable of doing detail, so they attack the idea of detailed illustrations to justify the value of their limitations. Simplicity and minimalism have their uses, but they will never replace, or supplant, or overshadow, prodigious talent, prodigious passion, and prodigious detail, all in service to a prodigious imagination. And Gustav Dore brought all that immense talent to every drawing he did. As an artist he has my highest recommendation.

All of the Dover Dore books are collectible, but the four best are the DORE BIBLE, DORE DANTE’S DIVINE COMEDY, DORE’s ORLANDO FURIOSO, and Dore’s IDYLLS OF THE KING.

And the DORE: MASTER OF IMAGINATION book serves as a bit more upscale exploration of Gustav Dore’s life and work. Price your copy of that and the Dover Titles below!

Gustave Dore 1832-1883: Master of Imagination beautiful Hardcover Tome!

The Dore Illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy (136 Plates by Gustave Dore)

The Dore Bible Illustrations

Doré’s Illustrations for “Idylls of the King” (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)

Doré’s Illustrations for Ariosto’s “Orlando Furioso”: A Selection of 208 Illustrations (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)

inf.34.139.dore


Advertisements

Happy Holidays, Merry Mass of Christ and Improbable Heights

‘When you strip everything away from Batman, you are left with someone who doesn’t want to see anyone die.’ — KINGDOM COME by Alex Ross and Mark Waid

When I think of humanity in general, and the holiday season in particular it strikes me that that should be our goal. The pursuit of a world, where nobody dies in vain.

But the reality, particularly in America, this time of year is that with the eyes of the media diverted; government sponsored mass-murders actually ramp up, bombings ramp up (now of the drone and unmanned variety, machines murdering men.. what an unholy road we walk), the terrorism of the rich… ramps up.

I’ll not forget the media celebrating the death of Bin Laden. Death and Murder and Torture are never things to celebrate, no matter the justification.

While I am savage enough to know that killing may be a necessary evil, I am human and moral enough to know it is never a joy, never a victory, never a cause for celebration.

Be the murdered Bin Laden, or Hitler or insert bogieman here, bringing murder to murderers is never anything less than a soiling, and a failure, necessary though it may be, it is a failure of reason. And as such is a solemn time, not a glorious one.

Because to do otherwise, to take joy from death, and celebration from degradation and horror… is to devoid you of moral high-ground, is to make you (in ways stark and true) worse than those you would revile, worse than your Hitlers and Bin-Ladens. It makes you a lynchmob, a coward, and an opportunist of carnage.

We must strive to be better than that, otherwise your protestations of Christianity, and Holy Nights, and piety are just lies, are hypocrisy and mendacity most foul, that you use to conceal your roman desire to see people bleed and suffer and die.

You become that lowest form of life, a gibbering coward among cowards, you become nothing more than a grasping claw, a rolling eye, and a screeching mouth… in the creature we call lynchmob. And there is no lower, and ultimately, more inhuman form of life.

Our goal therefore must be to reject that, to reject the easy lies and the easy hates, and work toward this wildly improbable world where no one dies in vain.

But humanity’s very existence is an improbability, so we can bend that already fanciful existence to either improbable heights of good, or improbable depths of evil. We just have to pick a direction.

‘We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. ‘ — John Fitzgerald Kennedy when imploring men into space

Here, on this holiday season, more fiction than fact, ‘goodwill to all’; look into yourself and find what is hypocrisy, what is lies, and find it in yourself to make truths, and truly believe and act on this idea…. of a time of peace.

Here endeth the lesson.

The Faith of Stars


Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

I had a dream.

Which is odd for me, because I seldom dream.

The dream is a hard one to convey.

It’s a dream before language.

There are symbols and sensations, and a brutal wisdom.

And a bruising hope.

In the dream I’m pantheistic.

Meaning mine is the religion of the wolves and the Wind, and of long dead stars that yet do light our sky,

“Think of it”, the dream says, in a way that is beyond saying “in the night there are stars lighting up the heavens, that no longer are there. That died a million years before the birth of man, and yet we are just now seeing their light reach us. To look up into the night sky, on a brisk, clear night, is to time travel.

No HG Wells story, or abstract idea.

It is time travel, definitive.

Because you are seeing into the past.”

“My God,” The dream, which both is and is not some part of me uncoiled, continues “how any can remain unfaithful, amidst the faith of stars. Even dead and blown to cinders, they continue to shine, for those who have eyes to see.

Time and space and even humanity (and their petty squabbles of oil, or ethnicity, or religion. All pathetically meaningless, and limited and wrong, ants skittering over a dung heap and thinking that be the world) are illusions, and to consider the heavens… is to break an illusion’s heart.

There is so much more, beyond this navel gazing, and wretched cannibalism Humanity commits against itself while still in the womb. Because make no mistake humanity is in the womb of its existence, strapped to a single world yet pontificating on the heavens and god, which are as above our reckoning as stars from silt. And unless we’re careful, we are rabid embryos who will die in this womb, fighting amongst ourselves, and take mother earth with us.”

And with that… here endeth the dream that was filled with signs and portents, and reckonings most dire.

And upon waking I read passages from the Bible and the Koran, Vedas of Hinduism, Translations from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and even the creation songs of the Aboriginals. I consume all our human knowledge of the dark, until my hands stop shaking, and for a time, I can dispel larger truths that I learned… in the light.

********************************************


Credit:
ESA/Hubble & NASA

“All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you.” Isaiah 47:13 Bible New International Translation–

I love how with each translation, the Bible gets more dumbed down and simplified, but the risk in simplification is the message is changed sometimes subtly, sometimes drastically. Compare the above, incredibly enjoyable passage (just insanely over the top, I mean I put down Astrologers with the best of them but that quote’s a bit gangsta 🙂 ) with the King James Version which is already a highly altered version:

“Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.”

Those are two very different passages in terms of tone. Where the heck does the exclamation point come from?! Someone made the decision, “this passage is not hostile enough in our war against terror, let’s toughen it up!” It is just hilarious. I can only guess the original Aramaic version probably said something like, “You have an astrologer? Cool dude! Pass me the pipe!”

I’m being facetious, I know that, but you get my point. We codify these inaccuracies, and say “Well this is the Bible”.

Well actually it isn’t.

The Bible isn’t one book written by one person. It’s a collection of hundreds of disparate writings, by hundreds of people, nearly all of whom are lost to time. And you have the church saying “well this article here will go in the book of Matthew, and this treatise here by that cross-eyed hermit we burned perhaps too hastily, will go in Corinthians”. Etc, etc.

If we define a book as something written by one person at one time, the Bible is not that. The Bible is not a Novel, it is an anthology.

It’s this truth that I think escapes a lot of people. I am not killing for a book, or what resides in a book, especially when 9 out of 10 people really don’t agree on the book or what’s in it. Now being the learning oriented type, I’ll study with you on the bible, I’ll discuss with you on the bible, but I’m not going to kill for you on the bible. Now before we go that route I’m going to have to read the thing for myself in Aramaic, including the books like Enoch, that the church decided to leave out of the bible. See this is what bothers me, you call it the word of God but it’s edited, rearranged, and dumbed down by man.

No, I’m just not going there with you. You want to believe, I don’t have a problem with that, but make it informed belief. Anything else is just… control.


“We gave some of Our Messengers preference over others. To some of them God spoke and He raised the rank of some others. We gave authoritative proofs to Jesus, son of Mary, and supported him by the Holy Spirit. Had God wanted, the generations who lived after those Messengers would not have fought each other after the authority had come to them. But they differed among themselves, some of them believed in the authority and others denied it. They would not have fought each other had God wanted, but God does as He wills. (2:253)”
—The Qur’an translated by Sheikh Muhammad Sarwar

here a cool link, with texts from a variety of faiths

Great CD for the Holidays: Alan Moore’s SNAKES & LADDERS

“Within only fifty million years of this, life makes its debut. Eden was white-hot and radioactive. Eve and Adam were both anaerobic, breathed formaldehyde and cyanide.”
— Alan Moore. Snakes and Ladders

“Snakes and Ladders is currently available as a CD and comic. What’s it about? Well, it’s about Oliver Cromwell, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the dawn of time and the information explosion, magic , the DNA double helix, and author Arthur Machen’s breakdown after the death of his wife, all in or around the Red Lion Square area of London.
Snakes and Ladders is a board game, here usually called Chutes and Ladders, where you can advance if you land on a ladder, or fall back if you land on a snake/chute. Moore uses the game as a metaphor for how life can be random. He also explores snakes in creation myths and as a metaphor for DNA.
It’s not for everybody, and you may have to listen to it several times to follow and enjoy, but if you have an appreciation of Alan Moore’s language and an interest in sometimes obscure English history, give it a try.”

— by Stephen Bitsoli @ http://bitsolisbibliofiles.blogspot.com/2011/07/snakes-and-ladders.html

Of the 6 or 7 CDs of Spoken Word by Alan Moore, this (along with MOON & SERPENT, recorded at the same time in 1999) is Moore’s finest hour, and one of the most haunting, insightful, and mind blowing CDs of all time. A+.

Ruminations from the 8th Millennium

Those of you who have been with this blog from the beginning know occasionally you’ll be seeing a secondary date on my postings; it belongs to the ancient Ethiopian calendar which I’ve taken a shine to.

In the Ancient Ethiopic… today is the 21st Day of Tahsas (pronounced Kiahk in the Coptic), the year 7509 of the 8th Millennium, in the years of the world.

In the years of the world.

I never tire of living in the 8th Millennium. :).