Saturday, November 27, 2010

Anyone Notice the Giant Jackrabbit in the 1737 Painting?

How About a DIY Painting?
During May I had an idea that was actually based on that second, 1737 painting, that I would sign up for a local course in painting with acrylics. In that course I would paint my own version of that Tabakskollegium and see if I couldn't make those kids look less primitive. Many viewers are struck by something odd about their proportions. Those are the teenaged Frederick, later the Great's, royal brothers. Frederick himself does not appear in this painting. Only three years after this he was king and launching the War of the Austrian Succession by his precipitate invasion of Silesia.

In 1737 the Prussians were on Austria's side in the War of the Polish Succession, and although it wasn't fully diplomatically resolved yet, the military issues had been pretty much decided and now they were thinking about what to do about, as it was then said, 'the Turk.' The Russians and Austrians both, separately or together, had to deal with the Turkish frontiers heating up to a boil from time to time, however much they might agree or disagree about what to do with (or to) Poland in the interim.

So they would be discussing these sorts of issues at that table, and with a pro-Austrian point of view at that time, as Austria won the decision about who would be King of Poland, but lost much else in the war, especially the Two Sicilies which means southern Italy based on Naples and Sicily. That fell into Spanish Bourbon hands. Old Prinz Eugen had captured it for the Austrian Hapsburgs in 1707.

 Considering George Lisiewsky was a professional artist at the Prussian court, and I am a part-time blogger, that may have been a tall order, to try to repaint his painting, but I do remember thinking it nevertheless. Of course I expect it would turn out the whole thing looks more primitive, and then maybe the kids' proportions wouldn't stick out as much, like masking the pain of a stubbed toe by smashing your thumb with a hammer. I've done things like that more than once before.

There would have to be some sort of project to do in class, and that was a plan I had in the back of my mind.
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How About Painting Anyway, Class or No Class?

As it turns out, there was overtime at work, and the timing was not conducive to committing to a class, so it did not happen. I'd have paid the fees, but could not spare the time to go somewhere else, regularly.

By August, I was painting after all with acrylics but without an instructor, except from those who wrote books. I still haven't tried doing a Tabakskollegium, nor anything related, but I did find that once you get started you learn a lot as you encounter problems along the way, and figure out how to deal with them.

What I did instead were a very small format called Artist Trading Cards, which are 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches, and would fit in a plastic sleeve in a binder, designed to hold something about the size of playing cards or business cards. That is a useful size of project for practicing technique, and produces miniature masterpieces of an almost throwaway size. The idea is to trade them with other artists using a variety of other media, and in so doing it does actually serve as a special sort of business/networking card, specifically for artists.

I haven't got a clue how to to put them up on the website, even if my printer were capable of it, as I have neither read the instructions nor plugged it in yet. Perhaps we shall see later.
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Until I Read the Scanning Instructions, What Else Can I Do Instead?

In the fall I have been researching for some of the military events after the War of the Spanish Succession, when Malplaquet occurred. I read a biography of the Bourbon prince for whom that war secured the throne of Spain. The ambitions of this King Philip V, or Felipe V, and fueled by talking with his Italian wife, Queen of Spain, Elizabeth Farnese, to secure likely thrones for their sons, provide one of the important themes of the wars that followed after the WSS.

So I expect to post something about the wars not very well known nor studied in the English language for the reason that the English either did not participate, as in the WPS, or were ALLIED WITH FRANCE as in the WQA. For the Americans these two wars did not or barely even occurred as far as American history is concerned, except as a sort of prelude to the WJE.

So to spell out the acronyms, in the near future I am looking at posting about:

WQA- The War of the Quadruple Alliance
WSS- The War of the Spanish Succession
WPA- The War of the Polish Succession
WJE- The War of Jenkins' Ear
WAS- The War of the Austrian Succession
SYW- The Seven Years' War
And of course TBK for Tabakskollegium, Mekelnborg that is.
And also on some related topics as the mood strikes. I'll try not to write about all of them at once.

 Also thinking about installing a translator, but it is a big bandwidth hog. It may be needed, since I'm reading in Spanish, French, Dutch, German, English and now Italian to gather materials. Da, sometimes Parussky too, as needed. But we can't expect everyone to do that across the board. Only part of it is easy for me, as it is. I will try to translate words as I go along where I use individual, military-type terms, but the translator would be good for larger chunks of text. An example: Cuirassier, corazero, Kuerassier. English often adopted the French terms for military vocabulary. Sometimes like here, German adapted them.

Did anyone notice on the 1737 painting, all the way at the back of the table, a very large Hare, much larger than the average Jackrabbit? Look for a pair of gray rabbit ears.
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  1. It must have been the result of a poll I participated in, about 'reading in the toilet;'
    the book was about overcoming writers' block for dummies, in which breaking a log jam in a river was likened to a constipation followed by a verbal diarrhea, with each log as it were representing an undeveloped idea. Also I actually forgot how to post, but it has come back to me at least for text.

  2. :-) I will supply the cheese, the bread and the beer, if you provide the continue with the blog.