Henri's berichten over zijn recente activiteiten

Henri's reports on his recent activities


Personal website: http://members.ziggo.nl/here

dinsdag 23 december 2014

Plaster Cast Anatomical Foot

Professor Louise Fresco, scientist, director and writer, recently published the essay bundle “Kruisbestuiving” (ISBN 9789035142527). The translated title reads: Xenogamy. It hints at the new combinations of genetic properties that are created, when one plant pollinates the stamen in the flower of another. She recognises this as a metaphor for insights that emerge when mixing scientific knowledge, artistic observation and personal experience.  In one of her essays she expresses the desire to own a glass jellyfish model from the Blaschka  studio herself: 
  
("En als de Financial Times me nog eens vraagt: als kunstwerk wil ik graag een glazen model van een veelkleurige zeekwal van de Blaschka-collectie hebben" , in translation: “And in case the Financial Times should ask me once more: as a work of art I should like to possess  a glass model of a multi-coloured jelly-fish from the Blaschka Collection".)

Well, who would not? Join the club. In 1993 I was sent a single glass tentacle of a glass squid made by Blaschka, and that was all that remained of the collection of glass models of Bonn University. I added this orphaned tentacle from Bonn to the glass animals collection of the Utrecht University Museum,  yet I was tempted to  keep it for myself in order to display it at home. It would certainly have been a thrill, to own a piece of Blaschka glass myself.
The lost Bonn collection is not the only one missing. It happens ever so often: things and even complete collections get lost, also in museums and universities. Another example: for many years I tried to uncover a Parisian collection of Blaschka glass animals, but all my attempts hitherto were in vain.
Anatomical foot, plaster of Paris, 14x28x14 cm
Yet finally I own an educational model myself – be it a plaster one; not a glass one. October 14, 2014  I visited the “Atelier de Moulage” (Plaster Casting Studio) in Brussels, which is part of the organisation of the “Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire”. Then and there I ordered a plaster anatomical foot. It had to be cast first, but it was delivered last week and I was thrilled to unpack:

In the nineteenth century, many art museums used to have their own Casting Studio, and the exchange of plaster casts was a way of sharing knowledge of classical statues from ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. Moreover, teaching aids were casted as well.
The Brussels studio is one out of three surviving institutions. The other two are based in Paris (Grand Palais) and Berlin (Gipsformerei; Staatliche Museen). 
See also the web site of the International Association for the Conservation and the Promotion of Plaster Cast Collections


 And if you prefer a glass animal: the skills of the Venice-based master glassworker Vittorio Costantini rival those of father and son Blaschka. Vittorio is in his seventies, and he is still going strong. His intricate glass fish, squid and beetles are awe inspiring. See Vittorio's website and gallery.

dinsdag 2 december 2014

Kruisbestuiving / Fresco

Louise Fresco schrijft ergens in haar recent uitgekomen boek “Kruisbestuiving” (ISBN 9789035142527):  
“… wat ik tegenkom is een verfrommelde print van een glazen object. Ik kijk ernaar en herken het, zonder te weten hoe het in mijn zak komt: het is een van de handgeblazen zeedieren van Leopold en Rudolf Blaschka, Amerikaanse glaskunstenaars uit de negentiende eeuw, wier collectie delicaat gevormde modellen decennialang lag te verstoffen in een laboratorium.”
Dat Fresco als technische term“handgeblazen” verkiest boven "mondgeblazen" of het meer poëtische “voor de lamp geblazen” is naar mijn smaak een gemiste kans. 
Echt fout is: “ … Amerikaanse glaskunstenaars …”: Vader en zoon Blaschka zijn tot Sakser genaturaliseerd.  Oorspronkelijk zijn ze afkomstig uit het noorden van Bohemen, en het gezin vestigt zich in de jaren 60 van de 19e eeuw in Dresden. Daar zijn de glazen diermodellen gemaakt.
Slaat in “Kruisbestuiving” The Curse of the Glass Flowers of Harvard weer toe? Check your facts, Louise.