Monday, September 28, 2015

Washing Her Hair

I was in the shower washing my hair and thinking about the show for this week when the thought crossed my mind that I had seen paintings of women bathing. 

                                                     Women Bathing in the Sauna Anders Zorn
Bathing in lakes, 

                                                              Bathing by Edvard Munch
oceans, bathtubs, 

                                                   "The Morning Bath" by Edgar Degas
communal areas and in basins 

                                             "Woman Bathing"  by Mary Cassatt 
but, I had could not recall seeing  any art dedicated to a woman, washing her hair. Combing her hair,

                                                        "Combing hair" by Osman Hamdi Bey

 adjusting her hair, braiding her hair 

                                                 Woman Plaiting Her Hair by Pablo Picasso  
but not washing. 

Hair produces a natural oil which attracts  dirt, dust and hair product residue. Shampoo is an emulsifier which captures these things and allows you to rinse them from your hair. 


Shampoo comes from a Hindi word that looks like this Śaimpū which comes from a word champi through the Chinese.  It means to coerce, bear down, allay and was more closely related to massage. Women who preformed these massages, where special attention was paid to the hands and wrists were called Shampooers. They were employed to perform this form of massage in the bath houses of London.  Soon it was their skill with scalp massage during the bathing  that had people hooked and the word changed to mean wash hair. The year was 1860.

In 1908 Dr. John Breck introduced Shampoo to his native New England. In 1930 he created a pH balanced shampoo. In 1936 his son Edward took over management and soon partnered with  illustrator  Charles Sheldon the artist responsible for the beautiful pastel portraits of the "Breck Girls". 

                                              The first Breck girl, Olga Armstrong, from 1936 by Charles Sheldon

There are 107 oil and pastel portraits. Roma Whitney being one of the "Breck Girls" and her portrait is the face of Breck. Her profile became the registered trademark on the bottle. Ralph William Williams also painted several portraits that were used in later campaigns. 

                                                                 Ralph Williams 

This week enjoy Washing Her Hair.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Unbuttoned Belly

I had watched a documentary on Bad Women of the Bible. My attention was drawn to Eve. Not what she did not or did do; but more about how she looked, how Adam looked. Specifically belly buttons. This topic seems to be as controversial as the apple, serpent, tree, and GOD. 

I do not wish to start a debate but the ideas and opinions out there are varied and entertaining. 

If GOD made them as a prototype and all others HE made followed that look then the first two would have had belly buttons. 

                                Masaccio Masolino & Lippi fresco the Brancacci Chapel, Florence

Aesthetically it is pleasing so yes they had belly buttons 

                                                      Adam and Eve - Peter Paul Rubens 

Artists created foliage over and around their bodies to avoid the theological question.
                                              Mosaic of Adam and Eve Byzantine, 400-500 AD

Artists painted people as they knew people and people have belly buttons. 

Rembrandt - Adam and Eve [1638] 

Religious mythology does not have to be scientifically accurate.
                                                     Lucas-Cranach-the-elder, Adam and Eve

Eve and Adam were created by GOD not by being nurtured and attached to a mother host so there was no need for an umbilical cord so, no belly button. 

    The Temptation of Adam and Eve, mid 17th century, 57 x 59 cm, metal thread and silk thread on linen

I simply am interested in if there were any paintings, or sculptures of Eve and Adam without belly buttons. The majority of what I found are beautiful, sumptuous and show belly buttons. 

This week enjoy Unbuttoned Belly.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Art of Civil Generals

I was at Mother's Tuesday for dinner and she was excited about the Civil War documentary movie she had been watching.  During the commercial break of another show she skipped over to the Civil War. She was very intrigued by all the information they were giving her that was not covered in school or University. She asked if I minded if we watched it and of course I agreed. They spoke an incredible amount about General George Brinton McClellan, General William Tecumseh Sherman, General Robert E. Lee, General Grant, General Joseph Eggleston Johnston and a few others. 

Union Generals Dix, Blair, Rousseau, Ore, Wadsworth, Wallace, Logan, and Butterfield. Engraved by J. B. Hall, Jr.

I wondered about how many actual Generals were engaged in the Civil War. 

There were hundreds of men promoted to the rank of General. They were called brevet generals.Brevet made its way through history to mean "a commission promoting a military officer to a higher rank without increase of pay and with limited exercise of the higher rank, often granted as an honor immediately before retirement." It comes from an old French word, brievet meaning "papal indulgence". 

After the War these generals ranks reverted back to what they were prior to becoming Generals.  As example in 1863 Captain George Armstrong Custer was given a brevet promotion to Brigadier General of Volunteers. In 1866 when Custer mustered out of the Army his rank reverted to Captain. 

                            Union General George A. Custer

The husband of my second cousin Sara Elizabeth Pearis was David Emmons Johnston. He enlisted in the Confederate Army but was given a brevet promotion to General. 

This week take a look at the Art of Civil Generals. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Krak Art Legends

While I was in the midst of telling of an adventure I had embarked upon with a friend, Wanda  in one of my Breakfast Letters I discovered that Wanda was a princess, the daughter of King Krak, and there was an amazing tale woven around her and her father in Polish history. Here is a small bit of that tale....

Krak was a prince or tribal leader of the  Lechitians, a western Slavic people who became the people of Poland. He settled his people near the Vistual River and the place was named Krakow. He built a castle, 

                                                  Wawel Castle   
Wawel Castle, and under that castle is  

                                  Wawel Hill, Castle and the River Vistula

a hill known as Wawel Hill. Under that hill are caves and guess who lived in the caves? The Wawel Dragon known as  Smok Wawelski. 

                                                          Wawel Dragon Cave
The dragon demanded weekly offerings of cattle and if he did not receive a cow he would claim a human. He was a menace and King Krakus wanted rid of him. 

So.... his two sons, Lech and Krakus II devised a plan to kill a cow remove its insides and fill it with sulfur. They offered it to Smok Wawelski and in the greed only a dragon can have he devoured it whole. Not long after this spicy meal the dragon exploded in a fiery mess leaving the two Princes to decide who would get credit. Lech turned on his brother and killed him telling all that the dragon had done it. Sometime later he became King and eventually his secret was exposed. Lech was banished from the kingdom and settlement village was named Krakow in honor of the slain brother Krakus II. 

Or maybe it went like this....

The dragon would destroy crops and kill sheep and cattle, ponies and horses but his favorite meal was young maidens. In order to keep the dragon from destroying everything an offering of a young girl was made to him once a month. Desperate a King pledged his daughter, Princess Wanda in marriage to the knight who would kill the dragon. 

Time and time again the bravest knights and greatest Warriors would challenge the dragon and always lose. A young cobbler's apprentice decided to accept the challenge and after slaughtering a sheep he removed the insides and filled the sheep with sulfur and left at at the mouth of the dragons cave. Smok Wawelski ate the sheep and soon his stomach was filled with flames. He turned to the river Vistula and drank so much water he exploded. Krak, the cobbler married the Princess Wanda and ruled with her when she became Queen. 

But then there is this brave tale of the Princess Wanda.....
After the death of her father Wanda became Queen. The ruler of a distant German tribe believing the kingdom was now weak and coveting it for himself invaded. Princess Wanda donned armor and led her troops into battle. Upon seeing her beauty and bravery the Germans refused to fight. Their leader pleaded with Queen Wanda to marry but she refused.  It was whispered  he killed himself. 

Plush toy you can buy in Krakow

Then, there is Rytygier, another leader of a German tribe who sought out Queen Wanda to marry. She refused him also and in a rage he attacked Krakus. It is after this battle that the Queen realizes that her people would never have peace as long as she was alive and so she drowns herself in the Vistula River. 

                                             Wawel Castle on the Vistula River in Krakow

Or.....maybe this goes back to a legend told in the Church of St. Jacob near the entrance to the cave of Smok Wawelski.....

                                         A Dragon gargoyle of Waza chapel of the Wawel hill in Krakow

This week enjoy the legend of Krak, his family and their legends.