Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors

I keep coming back to look at this image, it’s significance in showing the development of the Renaissance man along with discoveries made in the Renaissance world leads me to think that I should create something based on this for my project.



Thinking of 3D (2) – body, beauty and medicine

To follow up on one of my previous posts – Thinking of 3D – I have come up with an idea of a sculptural and video based work which tackles both the idea of body and beauty yet incorporates aspects of medicine and anatomy – looking at the body inwardly as well as aesthetically.

During the Renaissance a lot of ground was made in terms of medical and anatomical knowledge, Da Vinci famously drew the Vitruvian Man which is still used in relation to medicine to this day as well as William Harvey in England, who discovered that it was the heart that pumped blood through the body. My idea is to created a sculpture in the realistic style of Renaissance sculpture with a video depicting an endoscopy and linking to two somehow. By doing this I aim to achieve a play on Renaissance art, along with their passion for discoveries, whilst adding a 21st century twist to the piece whereby the medical discoveries of our time are depicted. Other contemporary artists such as Marc Quinn have adopted the style of classical sculpture and added their own idea about the body and beauty in the 21st century and these works are a great inspiration for this particular idea.

Despotism (3) – Condottieri

Trying to develop my ideas on the themes from the Renaissance book, I’ve written about the despotism in previous posts and developed this by looking at Condottieri or hired soldiers that were big players and important to the change in the geography of states during the Renaissance and affected what leaders would get into power. The influence of these Condottieri had a profound effect on the development or the Renaissance world and often these mercenary leaders would attempt to control states of their own.

To relate this to a contemporary context I have compared these Condottieri to the private army and mercenaries of today, specifically the Blackwater organisation who currently have contracts in Iraq and have been the subject of debate and controversy as to their role in this war. Other modern comparisons can be found within Africa where rebel leaders have grown to be incredibly powerful within their own countries. For this experiment I found a painting by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson and is a depiction of a war scene, not the perfect image for what I’m trying to do here but I like the idea of the comparison of old Condottieri to their contemporary counterparts.

Renaissance book ideas – Despotism

From reading the new book I got “The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy” by Jacob Burckhardt I have been thinking over the idea which the author discusses in the first chapter – Despotism – and how this could be reflected into the context of the 21st century.

Found this definition of Despotism on wikipedia – Despotism is a form of government in which a single entity rules with absolute power. That entity may be an individual, as in anautocracy, or it may be a group,[1] as in an oligarchy. The word despotism means to “rule in the fashion of a despot” and does not necessarily require a singular “despot”, an individual.

During the 14th and 15th centuries there were many of these despot states within the Renaissance world, where leaders and families would fight for control of their territories, often with conflict and betrayals ending one rule, beginning a fresh one and repeating often. The inevitable violence that ensued from the way these states were run produced revolt and Tyrannicide, where groups of people would plot to overthrow the existing tyrant in power. Giovanni Boccaccio, and Italian author and poet famously stated:

Shall I call the tyrant king or prince, and obey him loyally as my lord? No, for he is the enemy of the commonwealth. Against him I may use arms, conspiracies, spies, ambushes and fraud; to do so is a sacred and necessary work. There is no more acceptable sacrifice than the blood of a tyrant.

In the context of the 21st century, similar events around the globe, mainly in the middle east could be compared to the events of these despot states in the Renaissance era. The Arab Spring beginning in 2010 witnessed the people of countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Bahrain rise up against the ruling government of these states who often displayed characteristics of dictatorships. The violent overthrowing of the current regime to form a new one draws parallels with the events of the Renaissance states, the wars in Iraq and the situation developing in Iran are also good examples of “regime change”.

The role of technology on the ground is also an aspect to think about in relation to this subject, would these revolutions have taken shape the way they have done without the coverage of global television reporting or without the use of Twitter and Facebook, the Egyptian government restricted access to the Internet during the trouble there in an effort to stop the protestors communicating.

I have not completed the full chapter of the book where Burckhardt discuses these characteristics in relation to the Renaissance yet, but the books has definatly got me thinking about how our countries are run, how we interact with other nations and how technology is used as a tool for the people of the countries to communicate as opposed to the governments speaking for them.

Body and beauty in the 21st century update

Been working on this for a few weeks now, playing around with layouts and designs, still not got my website sorted out so don’t have the server space to upload it. Still not had a good think about making it mobile friendly yet which I think is going to cause some major problems.

Photoshop techniques (3)

Another play around with experiments using Brutus, a character who is discussed in the Renaissance book I bought. I’ve incorporated a sculpture of his face with a gradient background and other straight gradients on top. For the image to the right I have used the text of the face technique to include a extract from a Shakespeare play in relation to him

Photoshop techniques

I have been playing around with some photoshop techniques today, mainly look at dispersion and displacement. Here is an experiment I done trying to hack away at this sculpture, not very good but it was a good experiment I thought.