Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Galleries and Galliots

Today Catherine and I went up to Sydney in order to see and exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Entitle 'Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age : Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum', it's a collection of paintings from the main museum on Amsterdam, and illustrates the style of art influenced by the unique Dutch society of the 17th century. The centrepiece is a room devoted to Rembrandt, but this post is about the second room we encountered. This was the view as I came into it.

It covered the influence of Dutch overseas trade, specifically the Dutch East India Company, and it's naval power.

Needless to say I was like a kid in a sweetshop. Behind me is a picture of a Dutch warship in a storm; possibly a wreck off Gibraltar, although that is unclear.

There were about ten paintings in all, plus this - a model of a 1640s 44-gun warship, probably made for a guild or merchant company.

It's exquisite.

Did warships of the period really have all this carving and decoration? Repairs would have been fifty-percent art restoration.

Anyway, I know that some readers of this blog like ships, so I took a few pictures of bits of the paintings for both them and my own personal collection. This first set are from a couple of paintings of Dutch ships off Batavia. In the background you can see the port and castle of Batavia itself.

On the other side of the gallery was this; a painting of the Four Days Battle of 1666 by Willem van de Velde. Pure naval battle painting porn. Just look at the glorious detail!

A couple of ladies were looking at the picture and trying to puzzle out the flags. I couldn't help myself, and they ended up learning more about naval ensigns that I suspect they needed to know.

Anyway, if you want to see more, the exhibition runs until February 18th next year. The rest of it is almost as good as the pictures of ships, so it's well worth the trip.

(The title mentioned 'Galliots' I have no idea if there are any in the pictures.)

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Spandau and Lewis - Proper Release

I first started writing the game which would be known as 'Spandau and Lewis' back in 2008. Ever since then it's been in what I've always described as a 'Draft' status, as I constantly tinkered with the mechanisms. Well, having had it back out on the table this week, I finally decided to stop messing around, tidy it up and call it a release.

You can find it here:

Spandau and Lewis v1.0

There's a lot missing that I was planning to include. I still have notes for attacking ground troops (and their shooting back), AA fire, balloons and bombing, as well as a few more oddities. But what's in that document should be enough to get you flying and shooting with the aircraft of your choice. The sample aircraft lists at the back represent those I have i my own collection, plus a few I've used in scenarios I've tried out. It should be easy enough to extrapolate your own designs, but I will post a more complete list one day, since I have a pile of aircraft stats derived from those in the old Aces High boardgame.

As a bonus, here's a link to a thread by an artist called Peter Hill, who seems to specialise in WW1 air-warfare paintings. There's some interesting pictures in it, including this one of Alphonse Pergoud, who features in my previous post.

'Random WW1 Subjects' by Peter Hill


Monday, 19 December 2016

100 Objects

This weekend we headed off down to Canberra for a birthday party, and whilst we were there we took the opportunity to see the 'History of the World in 100 Objects' at the National Museum of Australia. This is pretty much what it says; it's one hundred objects and artefacts from the British Museum, collected and grouped to take the visitor through human history across the globe. It starts with the earliest known stone tool and ends with a portable solar panel and lamp.

The chances are that I've seen most of the objects before, having been to the British Museum more than a couple of times. But a lot of them would have been overwhelmed by the other items on display here. This select collection mixed famous items with ones that are probably less well-known.

The exhibition had originally been put on at the British Museum, but some of the objects in the Australian version were different. This was mostly due to some of the original ones being items that the museum would be reluctant to load out elsewhere - the Rosetta Stone, for example. I'm not sure which specific objects were different but frankly it didn't really matter. It was an interesting walk through thousands of years of history, culture and change, and even such things as a counterfeit football shirt had a story to tell.

I took a few photos. I could have photographed every object, but I didn't. Here are some I thought might be of interest to you, the Reader of this blog. Unfortunately in some cases I forgot to photograph the label giving details of what the thing was, so my comments will be somewhat limited.

Let's start with some Assyrian soldiers.

And how about the the head of a statue of Augustus Caesar? This is the one that was looted from Roman Egypt by the Kushites, buried in a trophy horde at Meroe and eventually dug up centuries later in the Sudan.

This is Mithras.

A Sassanian noble hunting.

A jug in the form of a Moche warrior from Peru.

This is a statues of an Aztec spirit. Specifically that of a woman who died in childbirth. Whilst such women were honoured as highly as warriors, their restless spirits had to be placated to prevent them from causing harm in the material world.

The famous Lewis chessmen

Brasses from 16th century Benin, depicting European soldiers

This is a relatively modern artefact - an Afghan war-rug. Made in the 1980s, it shows Afghans fighting the occupying Russians, the latter being depicted as horned demons.

I cannot recommend this exhibition highly enough. I did see a few things written on some of the labels I had issue with (once again someone failed to understand just what Darwin's theory was about), but it was mostly excellently put together, with the context of each object briefly but clearly explained.

But be quick; it's only on until the end of January.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Liberators in Sydney

If you come out of Sydney's Central Station onto Chalmers Street, you will be confronted by a display of bust and statues. This is Sydney's Ibero American Plaza :

"First conceived in 1986 as a Bicentennial project, the Plaza Ibero Americana began as an idea to acknowledge the contribution of Spanish and Portuguese-speaking people to the history of Australia.

It was opened in 1988 and remodelled in 2000.

Located on Chalmers Street, Surry Hills, the Plaza Ibero Americana consists of two statues and 11 busts representing significant historical figures and Latin American national heroes.

It features a series of busts donated by nations including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Spain, the Philippines, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Uruguay and Venezuela

I visited it briefly yesterday, and took a few photos of the busts relevant to my interests in the South American Wars of Liberation.

First up is the bust of Bernardo O'Higgins.

The inscription reads:

"General Don Bernardo O’Higgins R. Liberator de Chile. / Nacido en Chilean el 20 de Agusto de 1778. / Fallecido en Lima (Peru) el 24 de Octobre de 1842. / Director supremo de la nacion (1817-23). / Organizador de la expedicion libertadora del Peru (20 Agusto de 1820). Liberator of Chile. / Born in Chilean August 20 1778. / Died in Lima (Peru) October 24 1824. / Supreme Director of the Nation 1817-23. Organizer of the Expedition to Liberate Peru August 20 1820."

Venezuela's contribution to the collection is, of course, Simon Bolivar.

His inscription reads:

"Simon Bolivar / (1783-1830) / This great thinker and statesman of Latin America was / born in Caracas. / Bolivar is remembered as the founder of La Gran / Colombia (The Great Colombia: Ecuador, Colombia & / Venezuela) and liberator of Bolivia, Colombia, / Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela."

And from Argentine we have Jose De San Martin. I took a few photos of this bust, mostly because I liked how the sunlight was catching it.

His inscription is short and simple:


And for the liberators, one I'd never heard of before - Bolivia's Juana Azurduy de Padilla.

I'll post her bio from the Sydney Arts page here:

"Juana Azurduy de Padilla (1781-1862) fought in the Bolivian wars for independence. When Bolivia declared its independence in 1809, her husband and herself raised a small army to fight for an independent republic. Her husband was killed early into the war, but Juana Azurduy de Padilla continued to fight against royalist forces until Bolivia became an independent republic in 1826 when Spanish forces were finally overthrown.

Juana Azurduy had managed to form a small “
republiqueta” (little republic) with the territory her small army held. This republiqueta was basically under siege from 1810 until 1825 when other republican armies under Simon Bolivar were able to join her remote forces."

Her Wikipedia entry notes that when her husband was killed she led a cavalry charge in order to recover his body.

Her inscription reads:


The final bust I took a picture of is not a Liberator, but still of interest - Miguel Grau Seminaro, Peru's naval hero during the 1879-84 Pacific War, killed commanding the Huascar at the Battle of Angamos.

His inscription:



Finally, here's a shot of the row of busts, with San Martin in the foreground.

Somehow I managed to miss the statue of Benito Juarez, so I'll have to look that up the next time I'm in Sydney.

Incidentally, for any of you i the UK, or visiting it, who have an interest in the Liberators, London has statues of San Martin, Francisco Miranda, Simin Bolivar and (in Richmond, of all places) Bernardo O'Higgins. I took some very bad photos of them a few years ago:

Liberators in London

Click onto the image to go to the picture, where there are links to the individual components of the mosaic.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road - Concept Art

If you thought the film had some eye-catching concepts in it, how about THIS LOT? My favourite is the locomotive with road wheels:

Original image from

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Mad Through The Darkness

'Mad Through The Darkness' is a display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales of artworks by nine Australian artists that are either of or about the Great War. The artists range from official war-artists, through serving soldiers, to men who visited the battlefields after the war or were inspired by the experiences of others. It consists of paintings, prints and sketches of a variety of sizes and in a range of media. We visited this exhibition today, and I thought I'd showcase just a few of the pictures.

'The Enemy In Sight' from 1916 is by Septimus Power who was acclaimed for his wartime depictions of horses in action. He served as a war artist on the Western Front, but was later commissioned to paint a series of works depicting the campaigns of the Light Horse in the Middle East.

Here's a closeup of one of the troopers.

And here's my wife and daughter posing in front of it. They waited very patiently whilst I took my photos.

We all liked 'The Pigeon Loft' (1917) by Fred Leist, both because of the execution and because of the subject. The picture shows a courier about to depart from a mobile messenger pigeon loft behind the lines, with a basket of pigeons for the front line.

Here's a closeup of the motorcyclist.

For terrain buffs, here's 'The Road To Jericho', painted by George W. Lambert in 1918.

And as a contrast this is 'Villers-Brettoneux' by Arthur Streeton, painted after the key battle of 1918. This painting is due to be restored to mark the centenary of the battle.

The background detail is simple but effective. Here's some stretcher-bearers.

And in the distance, the village itself. I loved the colours and texture of this painting.

This striking portrait is 'The Smiling Sister (Miss Helen Lawson)' painted in 1915 by George W. Lambert (who did the Jericho picture above). Lambert has enjoyed some success as a portrait painter, especially of women, in London before the War.

Here's Miss Lawson's smile.

Finally a more modern work - 'The Galaxy' by Sidney Nolan (1956-57), which was inspired by a visit to the Dardanelles, scene of the Gallipoli landings. Part of a series it depicts shadowy figures of dead soldiers projecting into the future.

The exhibition continues until 11th October 2015.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

An Interlude In The Art Gallery

I had a day off work today; I was supposed to be meeting up with a friend in Sydney, but she had a family bereavement and had to cancel on me. However once I have a day off work booked I get psyched up, so I decided to go up to the big city anyway.

I spent some of it at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which is a nice place to go as they allow you to take photos. Which is what I'm going to share with you - a few photos of the exhibits which you might enjoy.

Specifically there's one for Ralph in our gaming group, who's more of an Aussie newbie than even I, and may not have seen it yet. But first - this:

It's one of my favourite paintings in the gallery. The first time I went to the Art Gallery of New South Wales I know I made what my daughter would call 'sqeee' noises when I saw it, because it was a painting I recognised from various Zulu War books. It's Alphonse de Neuville's 'The Defence of Rorkes Drift'. Enjoy. I only have to go up the road (relatively speaking) to enjoy it for real.

And for Ralph?


And here it is. I've seen these pictures in books, but I'm still gobsmacked at how big this is. So I wanted to include a person for scale in my photo. Of course, what happens when you try and take a photo of a painting someone's standing next to is that they politely move out of the way. In the end one of the gallery assistants took it for me, so I was able to use my lovely alter-ego, Rachel, for scale. 5' 8", plus a bit for the heels.

And then I stepped back to get a less blurry, full view photo of the painting. And someone ended up in shot. He appears to be 5' 8", but without heels.

Anyway, Ralph, if you haven't been to see this particular painting yet, you now know where to go. Full Details.

In other gaming news I bought a copy of Tsuro.
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