Monday, August 18, 2014

Alma-Tadema and Victorian Painting

I went to see an exhibit of 19th century paintings at the Thyssen-Bornemisza called Alma-Tadema and Victorian Painting in the Perez-Simon collection.  This is the kind of traditional realist art that makes a modernist/conceptual/abstract expressionist aficionado´s lip curl along with a simultaneous retina-detaching eye-roll. I thought it was gorgeous.

From the website:
After being shown in Paris and Rome, the exhibition Alma-Tadema and Victorian Painting arrives at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in June 2014, offering visitors the chance to discover the aesthetic sensuality of some of the most celebrated 19th-century English artists. In their paintings Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Sir Frederic Leighton, Albert J. Moore and Dante Gabriel Rossetti emphasised values that were strikingly different to the moralising attitudes of the day, including a return to classical antiquity, an interest in the nude, rich decorative effects and references to medieval themes inherited from the Pre-Raphaelites.
The exhibition, curated by Véronique Gerard-Powell, Paris Sorbonne University professor, includes a selection of works, among them icons of British art such as The Roses of Heliogabalus by Alma-Tadema; Greek Girls collecting Pebbles from the Sea by Leighton: The Quartet by Albert Moore; and Andromeda by Poynter, have been loaned from the private Pérez-Simón collection, one of the most important in the field of Victorian art.
The skin glows, the drapery alternatively clings and floats, the sun dazzles.  Masterful technique that sweeps you away to the long ago and far away as conceived by the  imagination of Victorians.  Anachronisms, paternalism, sexism, colonialism all there, but also stunning draftsmanship, color, and unabashed romanticism.

The pièce de résistance is the enormous The Roses of Heliogabalus, 1888 by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Dutch!) depicting a Roman (of course) banquet wherein the guests are slowly smothering under a deluge of rose petals.  Those petals are all individually rendered, accompanied by the scent of roses wafting through the salon.

I was very much looking forward to Waterhouse´s Crystal Ball, but  have to say I wasn´t knocked over.   I was more impressed by  the luminescent nymph Crenaia.


Virtual tour here.
Informational video here.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

San Roque

August is a month of festivals.  Practically every pueblo has a festival this month.  And one of the most poplar is San Roque.

Cambados, igrexa de San Francisco

San Roque, or St. Roch, was a 14th century Christian Saint, born in Montpellier the son of a nobleman.  After the death of his parents, he distributed all his possessions and set out on a mendicant pilgrimage to Rome.  Italy was suffering an epidemic of plague at the time and Roque performed many miraculous cures by touch and the sign of the cross while tending the sick at various hospitals.  When he himself fell ill, he was run out of town to build himself a hermit´s hut in the forest where a spring miraculously arose.  He was saved from starvation by the dog of a local nobleman who brought him bread.  The nobleman, Count Gothard, became an acolyte.

And then, to top all ths off,
On his return incognito to Montpellier he was arrested as a spy (by orders of his own uncle) and thrown into prison, where he languished five years and died on 16 August 1327, without revealing his name, to avoid worldly glory. (Evidence suggests, as mentioned earlier, that the previous events occurred, instead at Voghera in the 1370s.) After his death, according to Legenda Aurea,
"anon an angel brought from heaven a table divinely written with letters of gold into the prison, which he laid under the head of S. Rocke. And in that table was written that God had granted to him his prayer, that is to wit, that who that calleth meekly to S. Rocke he shall not be hurt with any hurt of pestilence."
With all the recent talk about Ebola, a patron saint against pestilence seems timely.

In Galicia there are August 16th festivals to San Roque in:  Vilagarcía, Vigo, Santiago de Compostela, Viveiro, Ribadeo, Cervo, Meira, Rábade, Sada, A Laracha, Cee, Melide, Celanova, Ourense, O Barco, Castrelo de Miño, Forzáns (Ponte Caldelas) y Caldas de Reis, and Betanzos, amongst others.  Vigo is a big one,
Every year, thousands of devotees gather in the vicinity of the Praza de España, in the neighbourhood of San Roque, to keep the largest pilgrimage in Vigo alive. Votive offerings are the most typical part of this celebration: the custom is to buy wax reproduction of diseased body parts to ask San Roque for a cure. The saint’s devotees guarantee that the 'holy milagreiro' is able to heal all ailments.
Melide has a medieval market.  Maybe next year.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

It´s alive

A miracle.  All the rose cuttings I took seemed very, very dead.  But one survived!

Unfortunately, I think it´s the more vigorous, but unscented one.

Someday, when it grows up, it will look like this.

Monday, July 28, 2014


 I must have them all.   The pinks are especially fabulous.

David de los Santos
After 9 months and 50,000 shots (only using 5.000 for the final video), my first flowers timelapse has finished. After a long work looking for flowers that would open fast, here is a list of the flowers that have been part of the timelapse: Lillium, hibiscus, carnations, orchids, dandelions, lilies, daisies, alstroemeria, peonies and nigella damask.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New blog

Separating the house/garden blog from the arts and crafts stuff. 

Back when I thought I´d be a soapmaker, I came up with the name Romanesca, referring to the Romanesque, a style I love for it´s simplicity, strength and beauty. Í´d like to eventually use the blog and facebook page for a whole range of farmstead crafts, and associated events.  We´ll see if any turn out to contribute to the cottage coffers.

The new blog is here.  Icons to the right link to Facebook, Pinterest and an email address.  Eventually, there may be an Etsy page, but I´m still struggling with mailing rates and photos.  I´m not especially social media savvy - so follow/like or whatever won´t end up annoying you, as you wish.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fiestas del Apóstol

July 25th is the Day of St. James, or Santiago, and Gallegos dedicate almost 2 weeks of concerts and events in Santiago de Compostela, finished off with a giant multimedia fireworks display over the cathedral. 

For the complete Fiestas del Apóstol - Program
But what I´d really like to see is the Diá do Traxe Galego, with the runway and parade.  The variety of regional costumes from the mountains to the coast is really fascinating, some of them being family heirlooms.  This year it´s Sunday the 20th.

from 2009

 from 2011


Monday, July 14, 2014

Festival de Ortegueira 2014

(The Chieftains!!! - C)

Thursday 17 July
Royal Burgh of Renfrew Pipe Band

Proxecto Runas 2014:
Cuarteto Caramuxo
Xabi Aburruzaga Band

Pepe Vaamonde Grupo

Friday 18th
Escola de gaitas de Ortigueira
Dominic Graham School of Irish Dance
Ruaille Buaille

Saturday 19th
Bellón Maceiras Quinteto
The Chieftains
Fest Rock (Bagad Kemper+ Red Cardell)
Treacherous Orchestra
Anxo Lorenzo band

Sunday 20th
Parade of bands of the Celtic Nations.