“The so-called 'Left-Hand Path' - that of Kaulas, Siddhas and Viras - combines the... Tantric worldview with a doctrine of the Übermensch which would put Nietzsche to shame... The Vira - which is to say: the 'heroic' man of Tantrism - seeks to sever all bonds, to overcome all duality between good and evil, honor and shame, virtue and guilt. Tantrism is the supreme path of the absolute absence of law - of shvecchacarī, a word meaning 'he whose law is his own will'." ― Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar.

“It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are measures…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.” ― Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga.

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died at his post during the eruption of Vesuvius because someone forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one that can not be taken from a man.” ― Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

There Be Giants

These hoaxes still get the Golden Skull Award for fantastic giant skull/skeleton images!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vlad Tepes as Pontius Pilate

From The National Gallery of Slovenia. Tell me the visage of Pontius Pilate in this painting is not modelled after Vlad Tepes "The Impaler":

The famous portrait of Vlad Tepes:

Description of the top painting: Christ before Pilate
mid 15th Century, tempera on panel, 83.5 x 51.5 cm
NG S 1176
The panels are a remnant of the wings of a Late Gothic altar of the Holy Cross. In the central part of the altar was a painted, or more probably a sculpted group of the Crucifixion: on the inner (festive) side of the wings were scenes of Christ’s suffering, two of which are in the Narodna galerija in Ljubljana, and two in Vienna. That these are really the festive sides is indicated by the gold background. On the working-day, outer side of the wings were scenes of the Finding of the Cross, of which only two are preserved in the Narodna galerija, while the scene of the unearthing and the recognition of the True Cross (when touched by the Cross, a dead man rises again) and perhaps also the fourth scene, of the entry into Jerusalem of the emperor Heraclius with the Cross, which he had torn from the hands of the Persians, are missing. The panels, which were once painted on both sides, were later sawn up so as to make two out of one; the external pictures of the Viennese panels, with the legend of Saint Helen, have unfortunately been lost. Furthermore, all the panels were painted over a number of times. That the Passion panels in Ljubljana and Vienna are not only the work of the same master, but also part of the same altar, was first noticed by France Stele and confirmed by S. Mikuž by detailed comparison and analysis. At first sight it does indeed appear that the scenes of the legend of the Finding of the Cross are the work of another hand, because the figures on them are more monumental, in the spirit of the “heavy style” of the mid-15th century, but a closer examination shows that the same artist was at work (the folds of the robes, the physiognomy of the faces, the compact composition without real space, etc.) and that the differences are only in the vivacity, which is necessary because of the subject matter. Particularly characteristic are the edges of the robes, which are decorated with Latin and Hebrew letters (on Helen’s mantle we can even decipher “ELENA”), which again links the panels to the Circumcision of Christ in Aachen. Interesting in both the Aachen picture and in our painting Christ Before Pontius Pilate are the female heads looking out from the background as if from a frame: above Pilate his wife is looking through the frame of the canopy above the throne, in the Aachen picture the Virgin (and beside her Saint Joseph) is looking at the Child from above a coverlet. On all the paintings, also on the one in Aachen, the figures fill almost the whole of the space, the colouring is lively, the clothing is decorated with brocade patterns. The physiognomies attempt to show convincing Jewish types, while in the attire of the executioners and of the soldiers in armour the painter gave free reign to his imagination. The panels can be dated to around the year 1460. The scenes from the legend of the Finding of the Cross were once interpreted as The Disputes of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, but the first scene should be understood as the moment when an old Jew who knew where the Cross was buried is brought before the empress, who is sitting on the throne. The second scene shows Saint Helen leaving for the place where the Cross will be found accompanied by the Jew and an entourage. The little dog in the foreground realistically enlivens the picture. We do not know where the panels were before they reached the chapel in Velenje Castle. The owner had them restored in Munich, where they were still in 1933. Then they were offered for sale by the Maribor art dealer Paternolli and bought by Dr. Fran Windischer, who donated them to the Narodna galerija. –The Viennese paintings were once in the Museum of the Franciscan monastery, which had housed the Saint Jerome Institution since 1384. But none of this answers the question of whether the altar was in Vienna and in this institution from the very beginning, and even less the second question, namely the place of origin of the paintings and the nationality of the artist. The evidence to date indicates that his origins were more likely to be in the Bavarian than in the Viennese or Frankish area (Cevc), but Arthur Saliger also thinks in terms of the influence of Dutch painting. E.C.
Exhibitions: 1960, Ljubljana, Nos. 57–60; 1983, Ljubljana, No. 49–52; 1995, Ljubljana, No. 186 a–d.
Lit.: Cankar 1936, p. 107; Mikuž 1936, pp. 9–14, Fig. 33–36 (ca. 1460); Stele 1935, pp. 45, 47 (mid 15C); Cevc 1960, pp. 29–30, Cat. Nos. 57–60, Fig. 28–30 (Austrian ca. 1440); Stele 1969, p. 248 (mid 15C); Stange 1969, p. 30; Zeri [& Rozman] 1983, pp. 131–133, Cat. and Fig. Nos. 49–52 (text E. Cevc); Dom- und 1987, pp. 111–117 (text A. Saliger); Gotik 1995, pp. 322–324, Cat. and Fig. No. 186 a–d (text A. Saliger); Saliger in: Gotik 1996, pp. 273–278, Fig. 3–6.
Restored: Around 1933 in Munich; 1960, ZSV, Ljubljana.
Provenance: Velenje Castle; Dr. Fran Windischer bought the panels in Maribor from the antiquarian Paternolli and donated them to the Narodna galerija around 1936, old Inv. No. 71 (Christ before Pilate), old Inv. No. 70 (The Flagellation), old Inv. No. 68 (Saint Helen asking about the True Cross), old Inv. No. 69 (Saint Helen and a Jew go to Fetch the True Cross).
National Gallery of Slovenia, Ljubljana

Jan Mandijn (Haarlem, ca. 1500 – Antwerpen, ca. 1560)

From the De Jonckheere Gallery: Born in Harlem in 1502, Jan Mandijn settled in Antwerp in 1530. He very rapidly built himself an excellent reputation there through his portrayals of dreamlike scenes such as his versions of the Temptation of Saint Anthony and Saint Christopher for which he drew largely on the fantastic creatures of Hieronymus Bosch, just like Pieter Huys. However, his amusing rather than truly disturbing compositions do not possess this fearful background that is characteristic of the Bois-le-Duc master. In just as characteristic a way, the paintings of Mandijn stand out owing to the heightened realism of his landscapes, often painted with supple and broad brushstrokes. It has become customary to group together a certain number of paintings that are kept in Antwerp, Bruges, Douai, Florence, Vienna and Saint Petersburg; amongst these works are subjects such as the Temptation of Saint Anthony, The Torments of Hell or The Last Judgment. The following are four of Mandijn's many paintings of the Temptation of St. Anthony.

Pieter Huys (Flemish, ca. 1520-ca. 1584)

From the Walters Art Museum: Around 1500, the Netherlander Hieronymus Bosch created images of hell as a fantastical wasteland of torment that relied heavily on the hold that belief in monsters had on the imagination of his contemporaries. Pieter Huys was prominent among his many imitators. In this vision of the end of time, Christ, surrounded by angels and the apostles, sits in the heavens as judge. Below, in a blasted landscape, angels and demons battle for souls risen from the dead. In the foreground the damned are subjected to an eternity of punishment fitted to their sins by monstrous demons-half-human, half-animal. At the lower left, a glutton is force-fed food and drink so that his stomach is about to burst. The brilliant, crudely humorous mixing of the ordinary and the extra-ordinary humor brings home the message.

Jan Wellens de Cock (d Antwerp, c.1526)

Netherlandish painter, perhaps to be identified with a Jan van Leyden who became a master in the Antwerp painters' guild in 1503. He is a shadowy figure and the reconstruction of his oeuvre is controversial, but he is noteworthy as one of the earliest followers of Bosch, his penchant seemingly being small pictures of hermits and saints in weird landscapes.

An Anonymous Artist in the Tradition of Bosch

Mechanical Devils

From Jessica Riskin: Mechanical devils were also rife. Poised in sacristies, they made horrible faces, howled and stuck out their tongues to instill fear in the hearts of sinners. The Satan-machines rolled their eyes and flailed their arms and wings; some even had moveable horns and crowns. A muscular, crank-operated devil with sharply pointed ears and wild eyes remains in residence at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan:

Italian Automaton (The Devil), carved in wood, 15th and 16th centuries, from the Wunderkammer owned by Ludovico Settala. It could roll its eyes and move its tongue, emit a noise and spit smoke from the mouth. Applied Arts Collections Museum in the Sforza Castle in Milan, Italy. Picture by Giovanni Dall'Orto, january 6 2007. Source.

Some mechanical devils depicted in drawings by fifteenth-century engineer, Giovanni Fontana:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pérák a SS (Springman & the SS) - Jiří Brdečka, Jiří Trnka - 1946

Pérák, the Spring Man was an urban legend originating from the Czechoslovakian city of Prague during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in the midst of World War II. In the decades following the war, Pérák has also been portrayed as a Czech superhero.
The 14-minute Czech animated cartoon Pérák a SS (The Springer and the SS, also released in English-speaking markets as Jumping Jack and the SS, The Spring-Man and the SS Men and The Chimneysweep), which was released in 1946, portrayed the 'Springer' as a heroic and mischievous black-clad chimney sweep, with a mask fashioned out of a sock. He was capable of performing fantastic leaps due to having couch springs attached to his shoes. This cartoon, created by the renowned Czech animator Jiří Trnka and film-maker Jiří Brdečka, featured Pérák taunting the German army sentries and the Gestapo before escaping in a surrealistic, slapstick chase across the darkened city.

Thanks to Soiled Sinema for posting this bizarre cartoon.

From Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales", The Knight's Tale, lines 1109-1192

...There saw I first the dark imagining
Of felony, and all the compassing;
And cruel anger, red as burning coal;
Pickpurses, and the dread that eats the soul;
The smiling villain, hiding knife in cloak;
The farm barns burning, and the thick black smoke;
The treachery of murder done in bed;
The open battle, with the wounds that bled;
Contest, with bloody knife and sharp menace;
And loud with creaking was that dismal place.
The slayer of himself, too, saw I there,
His very heart's blood matted in his hair;
The nail that's driven in the skull by night;
The cold plague-corpse, with gaping mouth upright
In middle of the temple sat Mischance,
With gloomy, grimly woeful countenance.
And saw I Madness laughing in his rage;
Armed risings, and outcries, and fierce outrage;
The carrion in the bush, with throat wide carved;
A thousand slain, nor one by plague, nor starved.
The tyrant, with the spoils of violent theft;
The town destroyed, in ruins, nothing left.
And saw I burnt the ships that dance by phares,
The hunter strangled by the fierce wild bears;
The sow chewing the child right in the cradle;
The cook well scalded, spite of his long ladle.

From Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales", The Knight's Tale, lines 1109-1192
The Knight's Tale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Canterbury Tales - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Geoffrey Chaucer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Geoffrey Chaucer Website Homepage
The British Library Caxtons
King Alfred Grammar
Chaucer coming in contact with Petrarch or Boccaccio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Giovanni Boccaccio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia