Monday, May 28, 2007

Dark side of the moon?

We all know the thick heavy biographies of old masters. Unfortunately, ten books about Picasso consist of the same 100 reproductions of his paintings. You cannot easily see behind, into the master`s kitchen. Or can you?

Here is your chance to break through the door of perception. Here is the place to see the rare works of art, look closer on the hands of the famous gigants. Discover the construction of their top masterpieces.

Let`s begin with some sketches by ink or sepia stick. Well, the first place here is taken by master Rembrandt van Rijn. For years he was creating a large and heavy canvases with thick layers of colors. On the contrary, mostly as a mature old man he created quite a lot of ink drawings, with excelently mastered northern (and typically Flamish) style. He reduced complicated technique used in oilpaintings to a few brushstrokes with ink and water. And a few lines of pen.

Now follows a unique study drawing of italian landscape. It was created by a monk Fra Angelico. There is really little known of him.

Equally unique is a drawing by G. D. Tiepolo. You do not meet such an artwork everyday. It discloses his way of building the composition and light and darkness contrast.

Claude Lorrain is known by his aerial perspective landscapes. We know the Lorrain`s mirror. Of course, we know mostly his oilpaiontings. But look closer at his ink drawings. He carefully prepared many such a studies before he painted final oilpainting. Anytime you get an opportunity to see the exhibition of his ink drawings, do not miss it!

Something similar by J. L. David. In his oilpaintings you cannnot observe this mechanism so easily.

Sepia stick drawing by Fragonard. Young Renoir was fascinated a lot by his works.

Where are the limits of a pencil in the hand of Ingres? Do you feel the same?

Finally comes Raphael and his excelent drawing. Florence was strongly focused on fine, gentle drawing style. Michelangelo absolutelly disregarded artists, who did not focus on drawing. Especially he disregarded venetian painters. In Venice of those times the painters did not consider drawing to be very important. Michelangelo carefully praised Tizian only as an old crock.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Mozart and The Line

Osvaldo Cavandoli (January 1, 1920 – March 3, 2007), also known by his pen name Cava, was an Italian cartoonist. His most famous work is his short cartoon series, La Linea ("The Line"). Here is a Mozart`s piece.

Cavandoli was born in Maderno sul Garda, Italy, but moved to Milan when he was two years old. From 1936 to 1940 he worked as a technical designer for Alfa Romeo. When he developed his interest in cartoons in 1943, he started working with Nino Pagot, who later created Calimero. In 1950 he started working independently as a director and a producer. He became famous for his La Linea, a simply drawn cartoon, first appearing in 1969. In 1978 and 1988 he developed two new characters: sexlinea and eroslinea.

La Linea ("The Line") is an Italian animated series of about 100 episodes created by Osvaldo Cavandoli in 1969. Due to its short duration (usually 2 minutes 30 seconds), it is often used as an interstitial program.

The cartoon features a man (known as "Mr. Linea" or, in some parts of Europe, "Balou", as well as "Linus" in Sweden), drawn as a single outline around his silhouette, walking on an infinite line of which he is a part. The character encounters obstacles and often turns to the cartoonist to draw him a solution, with various degrees of success. One reoccurring obstacle was an abrupt end of line. The character would often almost fall off the edge into oblivion and get angry with the cartoonist and complain about it. He was voiced by Carlo Bonomi in Italian gibberish, giving the cartoon the possibility to be easily exported without dubbing. The voice resembles Pingu's, the Swiss animated penguin, which was also voiced by Bonomi.

The character's relationship with his cartoonist is very similar to that of Daffy Duck's plight in the Warner Brothers' 1953 cartoon short Duck Amuck where he too is at the mercy of the cartoonist (Chuck Jones). Their reactions to their artists' whims are also very similar in as they both try to work with what is drawn around them, but often end up hurt and losing their tempers.

The first 8 episodes of the series were, in fact, created to publicize Lagostina kitchenware products, and the accompanying narration identified Mr. Linea as "Agostino Lagostina, a sharp little man with a truly expressive nose." After the 8th episode, however, the series broke its association with Lagostina.

From 1972 on La Linea was shown on numerous TV stations in Europe as well as in cinema, mostly as interstitial between commercials. La Linea was shown in more than 40 countries over the world. The series won prizes 1972 in Annecy and 1973 in Zagreb.

In the United States, the cartoons were featured on the children's TV series The Great Space Coaster, although La Linea was given different names by the show's characters, Roy and Goriddle Gorilla, before the cartoon was played. Not all La Linea cartoons were featured on this show as a few of them featured some rather suggestive content that children would not have understood. In 2005, the video for the Jamiroquai song (Don't) Give Hate a Chance paid homage to La Linea. The video is an animated commentary on the War on Terrorism and features 3D representations of the familiar La Linea character, as well as the animator's hand and pencil. A similar concept was used in the final introduction for the British version of Whose Line is it Anyway? Cavandoli drew La Linea for the last time, just before his death, for use in advertisements of an Icelandic bank called Kaupthing.

A set of 3 DVDs with all episodes was released in Germany in 2003 (but seems to be out of print now), and the first volume was recently released in France and Serbia.