All the hand painted signs I find disused in sheds and basements make me sad. I don't think the ability to print signs with computers and digital fonts actually made the world a better place. Definitely didn't make it more beautiful. Logos like the coca cola logo are static, dead imitations of beautiful handwritten scripts shoved in everyone's faces as a reminder of what once was a living, human pursuit rewarded by society.
In the late 19th, a painting by a virtually unknown artist took England by storm: The Roll Call but after that brilliant first effort, the artist all but disappeared. Why?
The Lady Vanishes explores the world of art and politics to examines the strange phenomenon of the “token”—the outsider whose success serves not to alleviate discrimination but perpetuate it. If a country elects a female president, does that mean the door is now open for all women to follow? Or does that simply give the status quo the justification to close the door again?
I can tell that I’m going to love this series already. Strong and interesting theses melded with some great stories.
What does it mean to be the first of something? Does it improve things for those who come (or don’t) after?
As I delve further into the ancient history of mnemonics and mnemotechnics, I strongly suspect that attributes in paintings (like those frequently seen in depictions of Christian saints) originally stem from memory techniques that date from Simonides of Ceos (Σιμωνίδης ὁ Κεῖος; c. 556 – 468 BCE) and potentially earlier by means of the oral tradition.
The National Gallery has a short little primer on paintings of saints and recognizing them by means of their attributes. As an example, in the painting below Saint Genevieve of Paris holds the candle which she miraculously relit. On the brooch at her neck are the alpha and omega signs. Saint Apollonia of Alexandria’s brooch shows pincers: she was tortured by having her teeth extracted.