The massacre in Paris has led me to wonder whether there is a solution to terrorist attacks other than strikes. I keep reaching the same conclusion. I doubt that there can be an effective resolution unless it comes to a significant extent from within Islam. If a person is attacked, self-defense is instinctive. One puts up a fight. However, nearly two weeks after the attacks on Paris and earlier attacks, it would seem that, if at all possible, leaders should continue to seek a diplomatic resolution to the crisis as retaliation could intensify and perpetuate the current atrocities.
My reasoning is based on the cultural prevalence in the Middle East, including Israel, of the lex talionis, “an eye for an eye.” I am using the word “prevalence” because humans tend to retaliate when they are harmed.
However, I am glad to see that there is unanimity at the United Nations. I note, moreover, that Ban Ki-moon did not mention a country which was judicious on his part. The wording is “terrorists and ideology extremists[.]” There are a large number of “ideology extremists[.]”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on Russia and the US to join their efforts to combat terrorism. He told the annual East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur that terrorists and ideology extremists must be “defeated in the name of humanity.”
It is within the nature of retaliation to perpetuate conflicts. An act of terrorism leads to strikes that lead to other acts of terrorism and to further strikes. There is no end to this process. For retaliation to be effective, all terrorists would have to be rounded up and exterminated, which will not and should not happen.
It appears that two of the assailants in the Paris tragedy entered Europe looking like refugees, which has created greater fear of the refugees. Some of the assailants, however, already lived in Europe. There are Isis terrorists in various countries. We will not have a precise account of the facts regarding the Paris attacks until the investigation is over. There has to be an investigation.
In the meantime, a Russian fighter jet was shot down in Turkey. This matter must also be investigated, but it could be an act of retaliation on the part of Isis, now called Daesh.
Given that the West has mingled in the Middle East, we must also take into consideration the consequences of ill-considered actions. When George W Bush entered Iraq, he violated the sovereignty of a country. In fact, mere intervention is often viewed as interference. It may also be viewed as a rejection of a country’s ability to govern itself. Under such circumstances, countries may lapse into an interpretation of laws that has long fallen into obsolescence. It’s a form of résistance.
In most countries of the Middle East, there is no separation of faith and state, which complicates matters. Sharia law is state and faith combined.
“Sharia and sharia law is the basic Islamic legal system derived from the religious precepts of Islam.” (See Sharia, Wikipedia.)
Therefore, heads fall, limbs are chopped off, and women taken in adultery are stoned to death.
“In the Name of Humanity”
Since 2011, nearly five million Syrians have taken refuge in neighbouring countries and are now seeking asylum in European countries. Canada was to give a home to 25,000 refugees in January, but this process has now been delayed. Yet, the refugees are leaving a country that has been ruined.
Let me return to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s statement:
…ideology extremists must be ‘defeated in the name of humanity.’
President Obama is still at the helm and he continues to believe that a diplomatic resolution of the crisis in the Middle East is possible. But, as I wrote at the opening of this post, no resolution will be effective unless it comes to a greater than lesser extent from within Islam. Yet Isis “must be defeated in the name of humanity.”
It must be excruciating for Muslims all over the world to watch Isis kill innocent people in the name of Allah. A fire damaged a mosque in Toronto, which is regrettable. Isis is not Islam. It’s a group of terrorists.
I apologize for not posting for several days. It has not been possible. I’m facing a number of difficulties. The Paris attacks have had a nefarious effect on me, as they have on a large number of people. In fact, I’m feeling quite ill.
Boreas by John Willam Waterhouse, 1903 (Photo credit:WikiArt.org )
Britain’s Golden Age of illustration, the illustration of children’s literature in particular, was ushered in, at least in part, by Japonism. Other factors contributed to the flourishing of children’s literature adorned with exquisite illustrations, but the beauty of the Japanese prints that flooded Europe after the Sakoku period elevated the status of illustrators whose art was engraved and printed. Moreover, the illustration of children’s literature allowed and sometimes required substantial creativity on the part of illustrators. For instance, as discussed in a previous post, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass (1871), featured literary nonsense.
But there is more to tell. We will now introduce Britain’s following movements or style:
I will also refer to the curvilinear and very popular and influential Art Nouveau. British illustrator Aubrey Beardsley (21 August 1872 – 16 March 1898; aged 25) is a representative of the style, but Art Nouveau is usually associated with Czech artist Alfons Mucha. It is a characteristic of art produced in the last decade of the 19th century and in the years preceding World War I.
The Anglo-Japanese Style
In Britain, Japonisme was applied to furniture making and was referred to as the Anglo-Japanese style. The Anglo-Japanese style was true to the idealism of the Pre-Raphaelites in that it rejected the depiction of “any thing [sic] or any person of a commonplace or conventional kind.” (See Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Wikipedia.)
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in 1848 by British artists William Hunt (2 April 1827 – 7 September 1910), John Everett Millais (8 June 1829 – 13 August 1896) and Dante Gabriel Rossetti (12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882). As noted below (see 3), it would not allow any thing [sic] or person “of a commonplace or conventional kind.”
The movement was called brotherhood, which could suggest equality and fraternity, but members of the brotherhood were brothers in that they rejected Sir JoshuaReynolds, (16 July 1723 -23 February 1792), renamed Sir ‘Sloshua’, the founder of the English Royal Academy of Arts.
Pre-Raphaelites also wished to return to the art preceding the High Renaissance paintings of Raphael (6 April or 28 March 1483 – 6 April 1520).
Pre-Raphaelites would not allow “anything lax or scamped in the process of painting … and hence … any thing [sic] or person of a commonplace or conventional kind.” (See Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Wikipedia.)
Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse, 1903 (Photocredit:WikiArt.org)
The Aesthetic Movement
roots in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
roots in the Gothic (William Morris & Edward Burne-Jones)
roots in Japonism (Impressionism)
The Aesthetic Movement promoted the concept of art for art’s sake, l’art pour l’art. Consequently, there are affinities between the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the Aesthetic Movement. They may differ however in that the Pre-Raphaelites “continued to accept the concepts of history painting, mimesis, imitation of nature as central to the purpose of art.” This could explain why John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900) praised the movement (see 5). He advocated “truth to nature”.
Yet if the Pre-Raphaelites are to be linked to another 19th-century British art movement, it would be the art for art’s sake Aesthetic Movementwhich paralleled, albeit to a lesser extent, the decadence of French poets and artists of the second half of 19th-century. French poets were drinking absinthe, which contained an hallucinogen, thujone. For his part, Dante Gabriel Rossetti took chloral.
Although James McNeill Whistler introduced Dante Gabriel Rossetti to Japonism in 1860, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood is not related to Japonism. It remains however that if the Aesthetic movement could accommodate “Ruskinian Gothic,” not to mention the medievalism of such devotees as William Morris and Sir Edward Burne-Jones, one wonders why it would reject Ruskinian “truth to nature”.
Arthur William Godwin‘s “sideboard” is in the Anglo-Japanese style, which, as is the case with all the movements listed above, is a forerunner of Aestheticism. As an architect-designer, Godwin, who designed the desk displayed above, also drew his inspiration from “Ruskinian Gothic”. Although exotic Japonism helped shape the art of 19th-century Britain, the stained-glass pieces of Sir Edward Burne-Jones (28 August 1833 – 17 June 1898) reached into the Medieval era, as did Arthur William Godwin’s gothic Northampton Guildhall. Morris and Burne-Jones met as students at Oxford and both were attracted to the Middle Ages, or Gothic, praised by John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900) who was not only the most prominent art historian and critic of the Victorian era, but also a fine artist.
The Peacock room, The Princess from the Land ofPorcelain by William McNeill Whistler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Japonism and the Aesthetic Movement
Whistler was one of the first to appreciate the true significance of the Japanese prints which had begun to appear in the West after Japan’s centuries of isolation ended in the 1850s, and to see that such works, whose subject matter was generally unknown or without much meaning even when it was ascertainable, forced people to think and to see entirely in terms of pictorial qualities, of line and pattern and color; to adapt them as demonstrations of the principle that Reality in painting is intrinsic, not a matter of copying anything outside itself.
Japonism, however, would characterize the art of American but London-based James McNeill Whistler and American impressionist William MerrittChase (1 November 1849 – 25 October 1916). Their Japonism is one of subject matter mainly, but exotic subject matter depicted in the rather allusive manner of Impressionism. Both showed blue and white porcelain, fans, screens and ladies wearing kimonos that displayed an oriental motif. “The Blue Kimono,” featured below, is one of the finest paintings created by William Merritt Chase.
The Blue Kimono by William Merritt Chase, 1898 (Photo credit:WikiArt.org)
Cult of Beauty or Symphony in White no 2 (The Little White Girl) by James McNeill Whistler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Whistler and Chase: the Decorative Arts
Ironically, it could be said of both Whistler and Chase that their Japonism was of a decorative nature. The rooms they showed became fashionable and so did the clothes worn by the ladies they portrayed. Whistler’s “Peacock Room” is not altogether consistent with the domestication of the arts advocated by the Arts and Crafts Movement, founded by William Morris. Whistler’s “Peacock Room” is a room, but it borders on art for art’s sake. It was designed in the Anglo-Japanese style and is housed in the Freer Gallery of Art, in Washington D.C..
The Tenth Street Studio by William Merritt Chase (Photo credit: WikiArt.org)
the broadening of the arts
the versatility of artists
Anglo-Japanese Style was applied to cabinet-making. However, the 19th-century British art movement we tend to associate with interior design and the decorative arts is the Arts and Crafts Movement, founded by William Morris(24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896). The Arts and Crafts Movement will be discussed in a separate post, but we have already witnessed a certain domestication of the art and a broadening of the field of art. Henceforth, it will include applied arts and such artists as William Morris and Sir Edward Burne-Jones will be extremely versatile. Whistler, who designed the luxurious “Peacock Room” and sued revered Ruskin, was an interior designer, a painter, and a printmaker.
I haven’t been able to write for several days because of flu symptoms. But I thought I should “drop in”.
The events in Paris have left me numb. I looked at the photograph of persons who died at the Bataclan. Some were very young. President François Hollande called the massacre an act of war.
It is my understanding that Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is pulling Canada out of the Middle East. I wonder whether or not he will reconsider this decision in light of Friday’s brutal and senseless attacks.
This time, President Hollande was blamed. Terrorists always find a scapegoat.
The attacks will no doubt complicate the migration crisis. Europeans may fear some refugees are terrorists in disguise.
Yesterday, my uncle Roland Moisan, now more than 92 years old, a veteran who survived D-Day, received the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest award, for his role during World War II.
My uncle was a volunteer who left for Europe in 1941. It was a long trip: three weeks. The ships had to avoid German submarines. When they got to Liverpool, bombs were falling.
The day my uncle and fellow soldiers left England, they did not know what duty had been assigned to them. The débarquement, D-Day, had to be a secret. The soldiers loaded what they were told to load unto boats and it turned out their destination was Normandy.
I visited all the beaches and cliffs of the débarquement. How did they survive? My uncle says that those who should be decorated are his fallen comrades. He was then tall, strong, nimble and the soldiers had been well-trained.
There was no disorder, but they were in hell. Men were falling. It must have been horrible to see comrades killed. When this happens, one must wonder why one is spared death.
A Moment of Grace
As the soldiers who had survived travelled north, towards Germany, my uncle was transporting young prisoners of war. Two of them got ahold of him and lowered his head. He lost his rifle. If these prisoners had not lowered my uncle’s head, it would have been severed by a wire. They had saved his life. One of the prisoners then picked up the fallen rifle and returned it to my uncle, smiling.
These soldiers were the innocent victims of Adolf Hitler and his Nazis. That’s what they were, and so was my uncle. Roland Moisan says he will never forget that one moment. It was a moment of grace.
I reread the post I published yesterday and it seems complete. It simply leads to related subjects.
Johann Amos Comenius
However, I added titles to the post and mentioned a related article. The related post is about Czech educator John Amos Comenius (28 March 1592 – 15 November 1670) who advocated combining text and a relevant illustration in textbooks. He was the first to do so. In textbooks, the combination of word and art is essential.
Comenius lived after the invention of the printing-press, in the mid 1400s. He could therefore have the books he wrote printed quickly and then add illustrations.
Educator John Comenius might be our best example of persons who realized that the invention of the printing-press could have an immense influence on literacy, which the inclusion of illustrations could enhance.
Adding illustrations was difficult, and they were white and black.
Comenius’ books may now be read online.
I added pictures and a video to invigorate my old post. Here is our link:
Japonismeis a French term. It was first used by Jules Claretie(3 December 1840 – 23December 1913) in L’Art français en 1872(French Art in 1872) 1913) in L’Art français en 1872 (French Art in 1872). I chose it to describe, in part, the Golden Age of illustration in Britain. The art work that was flooding Europe after Japan’s Sakoku (locked country) period were mere wood-block prints, or ukiyo-e, but no one questioned their beauty. They were in fact not only genuine art, but in many cases, masterpieces.
Although some artists could illustrate their text, which was the case with Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943), the author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, in most cases, illustrating a book successfully required the collaboration and compatibility of a writer and an artist. The illustrations were then engraved, unless the illustrator was also an engraver.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Therefore, when JohnTenniel accepted to illustrate Lewis Carroll‘s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass (1871), he and Lewis Carroll had long discussions. John Tenniel was accepting his first commission as the illustrator of children’s literature. Until he agreed to illustrate Lewis Carroll’s Alice, John Tenniel had been working as a political cartoonist for Punchmagazine. He could draw, but the subject matter was brand new. Consequently, if successful, illustrating Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass could make history. Besides given that Lewis Carroll was a pioneer in the area of official literary nonsense, his task was all the more challenging. What was John Tenniel to do each time the text grew “curiouser and couriouser”?
Edward Lear (12 or 13 May 1812 – 29 January 1888) had published his Book of Nonsense, in 1846, a few decades before the Golden Age of Illustration. In particular, he had popularized limericks, a literary genre, poetry to be precise. Witty literature was not new. It found a rich expression in the Salons of the first half of the 17th century in France and it was, to a certain extent, related to the conceit(la pointe), the witty and ingenious metaphors of the metaphysical poets of 17th-century England. Literary nonsense would become a feature of children’s literature.
The flowers are beginning their masquerade as people. Sir Jonquil begins the fun by Walter Crane, 1899 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass were very successful and all the more so because children had gained importance. Although the mortality rate among children had not abated drastically, advances in medicine allowed parents to expect their children to survive childhood. Queen Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a Prince consort, and gave birth to nine healthy children who married royals.
Gutenberg continued: the Instantaneous, yet…
Moreover the success of LewisCarroll‘s and Tenniel’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, word and art, did make history. Johannes Gutenberg‘s invention of the printing-press in the middle of the 15th century had been major revolution, one of the most significant in European history. Well, a book had been produced that included fine reproductions of beautiful images. Printed books containing printed illustrations had been produced between 1500 and 1865 but Japonisme had eased the task.
The Calligrapher & the Artist
Compared to the labour of monks who copied books one at a time, Gutenberg’s invention made printing a text seem instantaneous, hence the revolutionary character of the invention of the printing-press. Let us also consider that the printing-press led to the growth of literacy which, in 19th-century Britain, was being extended to children as children’s literature was popular. However, if an illustrated book were to be a commercial success, producing the book demanded that word and art match in an almost inextricable manner.
What comes to mind is the collaboration between the calligrapher and the artist who illuminated such books as Books of Hours, laicity’s Liber Usualis. The printing-press had been invented but, as noted above, a good relationship between the author and the illustrator was crucial:
“There was a physical relation of the illustrations to the text, intended to subtly mesh illustrations with certain points of the text.” (See John Tenniel, Wikipedia.)
Printing illustrations, however, constituted a more challenging task than printing a text, a challenge that was eased by Japonisme.First, Japonisme allowed the rapid printing of illustrations. Second, it validated the work of illustrators. But third, it also simplified the duplication of illustrations.
Typically, the art of Japan featured:
a diagonal line crossing a vertical or horizontal line;
flat or lightly shaded colours;
a stark outline;
Composition did not ease a printer’s labour, but flat colours and a stark outline, i.e. the linearity of Japanese wood-block prints, did help the illustrator and the printer. So did the use of flat colours.
Rackham’s work is often described as a fusion of a northern European ‘Nordic’ style strongly influenced by the Japanese woodblock tradition of the early 19th century. (See Arthur Rackham, Wikipedia.)
Rackham’s “Mad Tea-Party”, featured above, exhibits a diagonal line and it is a linear work of art. The colours are poured inside lines, which reminds me of colouring books for children. But note that there are few shadows. The cups and saucer do not cast a shadow, nor does the teapot. As for dimensionality, it is expressed through the use of lines rather than a juxtaposition of shades of the same colour or the juxtaposition of different colours. Wood-block printing allowed for a measure of dimensionality through the use of lighter or darker tones of a colour or colours. However, by and large, Japanese wood-block prints do not show the shadow of the objects they depict.
With respect to linearity, one need only compare Katsushika Hokusai‘s (c. 31 October 1760 – 10 May 1849) “Self-Portrait” and Rackham’s illustration of the “Town mouse and Country mouse”, shown in a previous post. Moreover, draping or dimensionality is achieved by using less lines (pale: close) or more lines (dark: distant).
Self-Portrait by Hokusai (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Town Mouse and Country Mouse by Arthur Rackham (Photo credit: Wikimedia.org)
Arthur Rackham’s illustrations are close to ukiyo-e(“pictures of the floatingworld”).Walter Crane, however, is the most prolific among Japoniste illustrators of children’s books. He illustrated a very large number of literary works. We are acquainted with his Baby’s Own Æsop (Gutenberg [EBook #25433]), but he also illustrated The Baby’s Own Opera (Gutenberg [EBook #25418]), songs for children. Folklorists, however, had collected and classified a very large number of folk tales.