One of the great powerhouse collaborations in the history of earlyish modernism came on 8 May 1917, in the performance of the 15-minute operette, Parade. Spearheaded by Jean Cocteau, the piece used stage and costume designs by Picasso, was scored by Erik Satie, and performed by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. (It was not received indifferently--there was a major upset in the world of the critics and many hated negative response from the audience, evidently much like that received by Stravinsky's Rite of Spring at its premier seven years earlier, also featuring Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.)
The image below is a maquette of the stage by Picasso:
A quick note here adding to a growing collection of "deep black" antiquarian images--this one, oddly enough, a simple black sky. As it turns out, there are not that many old images of black skies, night skies...nor are there any great numbers showing dark room interiors, or inside of caves. So when I come across an interesting old engraving/woodcut with a lot of black, it gains my attention. And so with the following, which is the title page from the Spanish astronomer Bernardus de Granollachs, Lunarium: in quo reperiuntur Coniunctiones & Oppositiones Lunae..., which was a small pamphlet of 16 pages printed in Rome in 1516. The booklet contained tables of conjunctions and oppositions of the Moon, as well as this gorgeous title page.
"As soone as the doore creekt, I spied a certaine Mathematitian, which till then had bene busied to finde, to deride, to detrude Ptolomey; and now with an erect countenance, and setled pace, came to the gates, and with hands and feet (scarce respecting Lucifer himselfe) beat the dores, and cried; "Are these shut against me, to whom all the Heavens were ever open, who was a Soule to the Earth, and gave it motion?" "By this I knew it was Copernicus. For though I had never heard ill of his life, and therefore might wonder to find him there; yet when I remembered, that the Papists have extended the name, & the punishment of Heresie, almost to every thing, and that as yet I used Gregories and Bedes spectacles, by which one saw Origen, who deserved so well of the Christian Church, burning in Hell, I doubted no longer, but assured my selfe that it was Copernicus which I saw." --John Donne, Ignatius his Conclave... (The full title: Ignatius his conclave : or, his inthronisation in a late election in hell: wherin many things are mingled by way of satyr. Concerning the disposition of Iesuites, the creation of a new hell, the establishing of a church in the moone. There is also added an apology for Iesuites. All dedicated to the two adversary angels, which are protectors of the Papall Consistory, and of the Colledge of Sorbon. By Iohn Donne, Doctor of Divinitie, and late Deane of Saint Pauls.)
The poem is a wide attack on the Jesuits and Ignatius of Loyola,depicting them/him int eh deep lake of fire--Copernicus may also be found there in the Devil's regions, though he wouldn't stay for long, as he was released from his torment by Mr. Donne. While there though Donne makes an interesting observation on the Devil itself, thinking that it might be from outer space, an alien from another place, "I thought thee of the race of the starre":
"To whome Lucifer sayd; "Who are you? For though even by this boldnesse you seeme worthy to enter, and have attempted a new faction even in Hell, yet you must first satisfie those which stand about you, and which expect the same fortune as you do."
"Except, O Lucifer," answered Copernicus, "I thought thee of the race of the starre Lucifer, with which I am so well acquainted, I should not vouchsafe thee this discourse. I am he, which pitying thee who wert thrust into the Center of the world, raysed both thee, and thy prison, the Earth, up into the Heavens; so as by my meanes God doth not enjoy his revenge upon thee. The Sunne, which was an officious spy, and a betrayer of faults, and so thine enemy, I have appointed to go into the lowest part of the world. Shall these gates be open to such as have innovated in small matters? and shall they be shut against me, who have turned the whole frame of the world, and am thereby almost a new Creator?"
Ignatius is also released from the confines of Hell, but--as it is stated right there in the title of the work--he is sent on to the Moon to establish himself, in a place where he would do less than than had he remained with the Devil.
I own this series of stereoviews but they have yet to surface in our recent move--I did bump into them online at the beautiful University of Heidelberg site, nicely reproduced, though without the the rich glossy blacker-than-black finish in the originals--but these will work nicely.
Max Wolf, Stereoskopbilder vom Sternhimmel (1. Serie), Leipzig, 1913.
In this blog's series on the History of Blank, Empty, and Missing Things there have been I think no contributions to nothingness in the political sphere--which is odd, given how much of the time politics is about just that, staffed by people of that same quality. The experience of seeing nothing portrayed in a political caricature as seen below was such that it struck me how little I have seen any images quite like it. The "zero" appears in J. Grand-Carteret's Les Moeurs et la Caricature en France, a thick book published in 1888 detailing the history of caricature and satiric expression in France. The image appears in chapter eight, on the political situation in France between 1816 and 1848 (Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Louis-Philippe). (Two years after abdication of Napoleon and right up to the revolutions of 1848. I wonder what it was like for Napoleon's mother, outliving her son by 15 years?)
And the full image:
It is a overt play on the missing color of the tricolor--the flag and the colors of the flag that came into existence in France beginning with the revolution of 1789, and became the flag of the new republic. The color of course are red, white and blue (liberty, equality, and fraternity, or perhaps the colors of Paris (red and blue) and the white of the House of Bourbon, or something else. In any event, the "white" as the artist/commentator saw it, the leader filling that space, was not yet present.
The entire book is located at the University of Heidelberg site, here. The book is very highly illustrated, and it also has an appendix with a very useful list of caricature journals (pp 554-620) and biographies of artists (pp 620-675).
I came across this very interesting page in the phenomenal work produced as a part of the U.S. Census, Report Indians Taxed and Indians Not Taxed, printed in 1894 as part of the 11th Census of 1890. (The full text is available at the Internet Archive, here.) It is a dispassionate recollection of monies spent on "Indian administration on account of treaties and other expenses, including yearly payments for annuities and kindred charges to the government", from 1776 to 1890, noting that "the military expenditures have exceeded the expenses of the civil administration by hundreds of millions of dollars". Indeed--$250,000,000 19th-century dollars (or something on the order of 5 or 10 billion dollars in today's money). Certainly monies that went to "satisfy" treaty obligations or to support Indians driven from their land and life would have been a fractional amount of the overall expense.
There have been many Kings of the Hoboes, and Emperor of the Hoboes, in the history of American Hobodom. The most widely recognized of all this royalty is, probably, Mr. Jeff Davis, who was elected King of Hoboes each year from 1908 to 1935--in that year at the Pittsburgh meeting of the annual "Hoboes of America" his minions gave up elected him King for Life. Of hoboes, that is, the Knights of the Road. Davis was also a real hobo, unlike the pretenders and throne-seekers, who in general were not. (Nels Anderson, in his Men On The Move, written just as the Depression was broken, (1940) observed: "Whatever else may be said of King Jeff, his romanticizing the hobo is not without a basis in reality, and his poetic interest in the species arose from experience. But King Jeff has placed on a pedestal a man who belongs to the past. The hobo belongs with the pre-Hollywood cowboy and the lumberjacks of the Paul Bunyan legends.”)
In the history of Mile High Things I doubt there are many entries for airports--or half-airports. This if not highly questionable structure inverted the horizontal concept of airport into something else, or at least changed the take-off into quite something different while leaving the landing strips the same. (This is the "half-vertical" part of the title to this post; "half-vertical" doesn't mean "horizontal", though I like that idea.) The new method of getting a plane into the air was straightforwardly breathtaking: haul the plane up one mile in an elevator and drop it through one of the "launching chutes". After everything is said and done, this is one idea that really didn't need to be three-dimensional.
There was a ride something like this on Coney Island that was very popular for years, a parachute ride where folks were hoisted skyward in a seat on a parachute and then dropped--a much better idea than this mile-high monster.
Here are a few other examples of Mile-High/Long Bits that are posts in this blog:
Herbert Hoover--perhaps a better classical scholar than president--famously promised "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage". Well, in this example of thrift and austerity, we see a summer cottage offered for sale for $375.00 (disassembled plus freight), with room for a car, and even for a family. A small family.
This pamphlet, Your Car as YOU Would Build It, published by General Motors in 1932, is a partial sales brochure--wish book--planning guide for a variety, bubbled to the top of a box in a series of boxes filled with similar interesting and widely obscure publications. Its main intent was to increase the interest of the reader in the car designs offered by GM, and it certainly piqued my interest if only in memory and hope--looking at the suggestions and offerings and choices, who in their right mind wouldn't enjoying making adecision as the pamphlet offers?
For example, the fender skirt, long gone now but just going nice and strong in 1934: