... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

277: In which I travel from Dystopia to Venus.

Absentmindedly trawling the internet for ideas and images to form a blog post or two.  It’s quiet a little journey I’ve been on, wading through the mire of google images and Wikipedia articles, and have arrived at an interest series of twists and turns; plenty of pictures too.  Starting off by trying to locate the name of the Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song that Harry and Hermione dance to in that cringeworthy scene in Deathly Hallows pt. 1, I discovered a detail about how the Ministry of Magic scene contains a reference to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.  From there I went on a search for images related to dystopian fiction.

Dystopia is a vague concept seemingly related to all sorts of nightmare visions of the future, ranging from robots taking over, all out war, mind control, fascism, malevolent and benevolent dictators, etcetera, etc, &c.  Often dystopias can be masked by a surface veneer of utopia; everything appears perfect, but look closer and all is rotten.  Like in Demolition Man.

A Terminator and a big gun
Part man, part machine, all cop; The future of Law Enforcement.

Then logically we take a look at the peaceful beauty of utopia, far from the terror of the Morlocks, MDKs and mimetic polyalloy.  It’s a world of tra-la-la’ing around the maypole, joyous comfort in our nudity, free from worries of war, disease, hunger and poverty.  Monetary systems are no longer needed and all our needs are fulfilled, our goals are realistic and achievable, and our bellies are full.  We are doing pretty well for ourselves.

from The Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch 

Utopian flying machines, France, 1890-1900 (chromolithograph trading card).
“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at” Oscar Wilde
The Golden Age by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

So now I’ve discovered an artist totally new to me; Lucas Cranach the Elder, a German Renaissance painter and printer who lived from 1472 ‘til 1553.  Completely new to me, but an instant favourite.  Just look at his signature:

Yes, he may have been a little strange.  I can easily imagine his name cropping up in the dark ages of Bathilda Bagshot’s weighty tome A History of Magic.  His pictures I have seen this evening are bizarre and beautiful; they seem on the surface like so many others from their time, but something about them seems just a little off.  As a result they are unsettling and I can’t put my finger on exactly what is going on there.  They are just weird ok.  Don’t make me explain it.  He also liked Venus a lot, but then again, how can you not?

Venus and Cupid, 1508

Venus in a Landscape, late era
Duke Henry IV, Duke of Saxony, yeah nice clothes mate
This is clearly a post more about images than words, so I’m going to stop babbling and let you look at the pictures, and the hardcore among you can explore the links I have gifted you.  If you click on them you will magically be transported to another island in Internet Ocean.

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