Τρίτη, 27 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

Ancient Greek Christmas

You would think the title of this post combines two incompatible elements "ancient Greek" and "Christmas", but modern day kitsch never fails to amaze us. 




Want your Christmas tree with a touch of ancient Greek splendour? 
Why not choose this elegant Parthenon glass ornament for only 22,99 $?





(really want it? think again or click HERE)


or, better still, why not combine the Parthenon with a touch of the traveller's experience with this magnificent suitcase-shaped glass ornament for only 19,99 $






(want this one too? sure? then click HERE)


You could of course choose a relief version of the Parthenon...






(must have it? click HERE)


or settle for a pars pro toto with this piece of an Ionic column all christmasy-looking with its red bow






(can't live without it? click HERE)


Not christmasy enough? Perhaps have it in gold? 




(yours to order, if you click HERE)


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I know it's now too late to wish everyone a merry Christmas, but I'm just in time to wish you a Happy New Year!





Πέμπτη, 8 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

Society Goddesses

Yevonde Cumbers Middleton (1893-1975), or Madame Yevonde, as she was better known, was an English photographer who pioneered the use of colour in portrait photography. Well-educated and an avid supporter of the women's rights movement, this independent lady set up her own photographic studio in London in 1914 being just 21 years old. She experimented with colour photography and the new Vivex technique and became well-known for her portraits of leading personalities of the day.  

During the 1930's Madame Yevonde shot a series of photographs, named "Goddesses" portraying well-known socialites of the day dressed up as mythological figures. 

According to Wikipedia 
"Yevonde's most famous work was inspired by a theme party held on March 5, 1935, where guests dressed as Roman and Greek gods and goddesses. Yevonde subsequently took studio portraits of many of the participants (and others), in appropriate costume and surrounded by appropriate objects. This series of prints showed Yevonde at her most creative, using colour, costume and props to build an otherworldly air around her subjects. She went on to produce further series based on the signs of the zodiac and the months of the year. Partly influenced by surrealist artists, particularly Man Ray, Yevonde used surprising juxtapositions of objects which displayed her sense of humour."



April Aileen Freda (Leatherman) as Minerva/Athena




Mrs Donald Ross as Europa




Mrs Richard Hart-Davis as Andromeda




Lady Dorothy Etta Warrender (née Rawson, later Lady Bruntisfield) as Ceres/Demeter




Lady Alexandra Henrietta Louisa Haig as Circe






Lady Bridgett Elizabeth Felicia Henrietta Augusta Poulett as Arethusa




The Honorary Mrs James beck as Daphne




Mrs Edward Mayer as Medusa




The Honorable Mrs Bryan Guinness as Venus/Aphrodite




Lady Milbanke as Penthesileia



Mrs Anthony Eden as Clio




Dorothy, Duchess of Wellington as Hecate




Madame Yevonde, Self-portrait, National Portrait Gallery, London
(note the Hecate portrait over the frame) 
[via]


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The "Goddesses" photographs have been published in book form (see here) and recently exhibited at the PM Gallery and House in London - see an article in The Guardian here

A major exhibition on Madame Yevonde's work took place in the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1990 and a catalogue was published by R. Gibson & P. Roberts, Madame Yevonde: Colour, Fantasy & Myth, London 1990.

Photographs reposted via here & here.  

If you want to know more on Madane Yevonde see here and here

Last but not least, you may browse 290 photographs of Madame Yevonde in the National Portrait Gallery site - just click here


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P.S. Though as a rule the blog claims no copyright on any of its content, people reposting huge chunks of its posts, photographs, ideas, etc. without mentioning it as a source, should keep in mind that there is such a thing as "netiquette" or common courtesy which requires due attribution. 
Much like we (try to) do in Classics with referencing and quoting ;)

By the way, Madame Yevonde's most famous quote is "Be Original or  Die!"

Τρίτη, 6 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

Hair

In 2009 students from the Fairfield University College in Connecticut, under the supervision of their teacher Dr Katherine Schwab, worked on a very interesting project: 
the Caryatid Hairstyling Project.





[Students posing as Caryatids: Sandra Cimino, Dana Westrup, Amber Nowak, mara Giarratana Young, Caitlin Parker, Shannon Berger]






The six Caryatids in the south porch of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis wear long hair arranged in a variety of braids and patterns. The project aimed at testing whether these hairstyles were representing artistic convention or were in fact inspired by real hairstyles of the day. 






Dr Schwab working together with professional hairstylist Mixely Torres attempted to replicate these hairstyles working on six students with long thick hair in varying textures.
The result? 

"Not only was it possible to replicate the hairstyles of the renowned Caryatids, but the process itself yielded insights into hairstyling techniques both ancient and modern, as well as a way to enter the realm of antiquity. The Athenian Caryatid hairstyles provide a window into an ancient time and place when young women became part of their society through the manner in which their hair was worn. Equally, today these complex hairstyles form a connection between contemporary and ancient society while demonstrating how braids continue to fascinate and inspire contemporary trends in hair fashion."



The Caryatid Hairstyling Project was recorded and presented into a short DVD film, but one may watch the following instructive clip released on YouTube.






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Need more info? 


Start by visiting the Caryatid Hairstyling Project page here and read interesting interviews by Dr Schwab here and here.




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I've had the idea of presenting this project in the blog for a long time now, but strictly speaking this fell under the category of "experimental archaeology" rather than consuming Greek antiquity in a modern way. 


Well, thankfully, Berkeley student Celeste Jacobson-Ingram came to my rescue, after suggesting several examples of contemporary hairstyles that are evidently influenced by ancient Greek and Roman examples. 





[via]




[composite photograph courtesy of C. Jacobson-Ingram]