Monthly Archives: March 2014

Spotlight: Simply The Eiffel Tower

eiffel tower

The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. It was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticized by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.98 million people ascended it in 2011. The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010. The tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world

The tower is 1,063 feet tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest human-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930.

The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second. The third level observatory’s upper platform is 906 feet above the ground, the highest accessible to the public in the European Union.

Before construction began, Gustave Eiffel said the Eiffel Tower would symbolize:

“not only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living, and for which the way was prepared by the great scientific movement of the eighteenth century and by the Revolution of 1789, to which this monument will be built as an expression of France’s gratitude.”

The Artists Protest

The projected tower had been a subject of some controversy, attracting criticism from both those who did not believe that it was feasible and those who objected on artistic grounds, whose objections were an expression of a longstanding debate about the relationship between architecture and engineering. This came to a head as work began at the Champ de Mars: A “Committee of Three Hundred” (one member for each meter of the tower’s height) was formed, led by the prominent architect Charles Garnier and including some of the most important figures of the French arts establishment, including Adolphe Bouguereau, Guy de Maupassant, Charles Gounod and Jules Massenet: a petition was sent to Charles Alphand, the Minister of Works and Commissioner for the Exposition, and was published by Le Temps.

“We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection…of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower…To bring our arguments home, imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream. And for twenty years…we shall see stretching like a blot of ink the hateful shadow of the hateful column of bolted sheet metal”

Gustave Eiffel responded to these criticisms by comparing his tower to the Egyptian Pyramids: “My tower will be the tallest edifice ever erected by man. Will it not also be grandiose in its way? And why would something admirable in Egypt become hideous and ridiculous in Paris?”

Eiffel was similarly unworried of the criticism, pointing out to a journalist that it was premature to judge the effect of the tower solely on the basis of the drawings, that the Champ de Mars was distant enough from the monuments mentioned in the protest for there to be little risk of the tower overwhelming them, and putting the aesthetic argument for the Tower: “Do not the laws of natural forces always conform to the secret laws of harmony?”

Some of the protestors were to change their minds when the tower was built: others remained unconvinced. Guy de Maupassant supposedly ate lunch in the tower’s restaurant every day because it was the one place in Paris where the tower was not visible.Today, the Tower is widely considered to be a striking piece of structural art.

Engraved names

Gustave Eiffel engraved on the tower seventy-two names of French scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in recognition of their contributions. This engraving was painted over at the beginning of the twentieth century but restored in 1986–1987 by the Société Nouvelle d’exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, a company contracted to operate business related to the Tower.

Aesthetic considerations

In order to give the appearance of uniform colour the paint used is graduated in tone to counteract the effect of atmospheric perspective, and is lighter at the bottom, getting darker towards the top. Periodically the color of the paint is changed; as of 2013 it is bronze colored. On the first floor there are interactive consoles hosting a poll for the color to use for the next repaint.

Replicas

As one of the most iconic structures in the world, the Eiffel Tower has been the inspiration for the creation of over 30 duplicates and similar towers around the world.

Thanks for following – the eventsfy team

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiffel_Tower

Spotlight: The Scream by Edvard Munch (1893) – sold for record $120 Million

thescream

The Scream is the popular name given to each of four versions of a composition, created as both paintings and pastels, by the Expressionist artist Edvard Munch between 1893 and 1910. Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature) is the title Munch gave to these works, all of which show a figure with an agonized expression against a landscape with a tumultuous orange sky.  Arthur Lubow has described The Scream as “an icon of modern art, a Mona Lisa for our time.”

Edvard Munch created the four versions in various media. The National Gallery, Oslo, holds one of two painted versions. The Munch Museum holds the other painted version (1910) and a pastel version from 1893. These three versions have not traveled for years.

The fourth version (pastel, 1895 and shown above) was sold for $119,922,600 at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art auction on 2 May 2012 to financier Leon Black, the second highest nominal price paid for a painting at auction. The painting was on display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York from October 2012 to April 2013.

The Scream has been the target of several high-profile art thefts. In 1994, the version in the National Gallery was stolen. It was recovered several months later. In 2004, both The Scream and Madonna were stolen from the Munch Museum, and were both recovered two years later.

Sources of inspiration

In his diary in an entry headed, Nice 22 January 1892, Munch described his inspiration for the image:

One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.

This memory was later rendered by Munch as a poem, which he hand-painted onto the frame of the 1895 pastel version of the work:

I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

The imagery of The Scream has been compared to that which an individual suffering from depersonalization disorder experiences, a feeling of distortion of the environment and one’s self, and also facial pain.

Thefts

The Scream has been the target of a number of thefts and theft attempts. Some damage has been suffered in these thefts.

On 12 February 1994, the same day as the opening of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, two men broke into the National Gallery, Oslo, and stole its version of The Scream, leaving a note reading “Thanks for the poor security”. The painting had been moved down to a second-story gallery as part of the Olympic festivities. After the gallery refused to pay a ransom demand of US$1 million in March 1994, Norwegian police set up a sting operation with assistance from the British police (SO10) and the Getty Museum and the painting was recovered undamaged on 7 May 1994. In January 1996, four men were convicted in connection with the theft, including Pål Enger, who had been convicted of stealing Munch’s Vampire in 1988. They were released on appeal on legal grounds: the British agents involved in the sting operation had entered Norway under false identities.

The 1910 tempera on board version of The Scream was stolen on 22 August 2004, during daylight hours, when masked gunmen entered the Munch Museum in Oslo and stole it and Munch’s Madonna. A bystander photographed the robbers as they escaped to their car with the artwork. On 8 April 2005, Norwegian police arrested a suspect in connection with the theft, but the paintings remained missing and it was rumored that they had been burned by the thieves to destroy evidence. On 1 June 2005, with four suspects already in custody in connection with the crime, the city government of Oslo offered a reward of 2 million Norwegian kroner (roughly US $313,500) for information that could help locate the paintings. Although the paintings remained missing, six men went on trial in early 2006, variously charged with either helping to plan or participating in the robbery. Three of the men were convicted and sentenced to between four and eight years in prison in May 2006, and two of the convicted, Bjørn Hoen and Petter Tharaldsen, were also ordered to pay compensation of 750 million kroner (roughly US $117.6 million) to the City of Oslo. The Munch Museum was closed for ten months for a security overhaul.

On 31 August 2006, Norwegian police announced that a police operation had recovered both The Scream and Madonna, but did not reveal detailed circumstances of the recovery. The paintings were said to be in a better-than-expected condition. “We are 100 percent certain they are the originals,” police chief Iver Stensrud told a news conference. “The damage was much less than feared.” Munch Museum director Ingebjørg Ydstie confirmed the condition of the paintings, saying it was much better than expected and that the damage could be repaired. The Scream had moisture damage on the lower left corner, while Madonna suffered several tears on the right side of the painting as well as two holes in Madonna’s arm. Before repairs and restoration began, the paintings were put on public display by the Munch Museum beginning 27 September 2006. During the five-day exhibition, 5,500 people viewed the damaged paintings. The conserved works went back on display on 23 May 2008, when the exhibition “Scream and Madonna — Revisited” at the Munch Museum in Oslo displayed the paintings together. Some damage to The Scream may prove impossible to repair, but the overall integrity of the work has not been compromised.

Record sale at auction

The 1895 pastel-on-board version of the painting, owned by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, sold at Sotheby’s for a record US$120 million at auction on 2 May 2012. The bidding started at $40 million and lasted for over 12 minutes when Leon Black by phone gave the final offer of US $119,922,500, including the buyer’s premium. Sotheby’s said the painting was the most colorful and vibrant of the four versions painted by Munch and the only version whose frame was hand-painted by the artist to include his poem, detailing the work’s inspiration. After the sale, Sotheby’s auctioneer Tobias Meyer said the painting was “worth every penny”, adding: “It is one of the great icons of art in the world and whoever bought it should be congratulated.”

The previous record for the most expensive work of art sold at auction had been held by Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, which went for US$106.5 million at Christie’s two years prior on 4 May 2010.] When accounting for inflation, the highest price paid for art at an auction is still held by Van Gogh‘s Portrait of Dr. Gachet, which sold for $82.5 million in 1990, or about $149 million 2012 dollars. There have been reports that The Card Players, by Cézanne, sold privately for $250m in 2011, which can not be verified for the establishment of a record price.

In popular culture

In the late twentieth century, The Scream was imitated, parodied, and outright copies have been made following its copyright expiration, which led to it acquiring an iconic status in popular culture. It was used on the cover of some editions of Arthur Janov‘s book The Primal Scream. In 1983–1984, pop artist Andy Warhol made a series of silk prints copying works by Munch, including The Scream. His stated intention was to desacralize the painting by making it into a mass-reproducible object. Munch had already begun that process, however, by making a lithograph of the work for reproduction. Erró‘s ironic and irreverent treatment of Munch’s masterpiece in his acrylic paintings The Second Scream (1967) and Ding Dong (1979) is considered a characteristic of post-modern art. Cartoonist Gary Larson included a “tribute” to The Scream (entitled The Whine) in his Wiener Dog Art painting and cartoon compilation, in which the central figure is replaced by a howling dachshundThe Scream has been used in advertising, in cartoons, such as The Simpsons, films, and on television. The principal alien antagonists depicted in the 2011 BBC series of Doctor Who, named “The Silence“, have an appearance partially based on The Scream. The Ghost face mask worn by the primary antagonists of the Scream series of horror movies is based on the painting, and was created by Fun World employee, Brigitte Sleiertin, as a Halloween costume, prior to being discovered by Marianne Maddalena and Wes Craven for the film.

In 2013, The Scream was one of four paintings that the Norwegian postal service chose for a series of stamps marking the 150th anniversary of Edvard Munch’s birth.

A patient resource group for trigeminal neuralgia (which has been described as the most painful condition in existence) have also adopted the image as a symbol of the condition.

Thanks for following – the eventsfy team

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_scream

*more on Andy Warhol https://www.artsy.net/artist/andy-warhol