Boulevard Montmartre, Spring; Camille Pissarro
Link is to a zoomable version on the Google Art Project; there is a downloadablve version on Wikimedia Commons. Google’s listing indicates the original is in the collection of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; but I can’t find it in their online database.
This is one of the remarkable series of paintings of Pissarro’s views of the boulevard Montmartre from a room he rented in Paris in the fall of 1896 and Spring of 1897.
In it, as well as in the other paintings in the series, Pissarro explored the same subject in a variety of seasons, times of day, light and weather conditions, and continued the practice by the Impressionist painters of painting scenes of everyday life. In itself, the latter practice, following the lead of Gustave Courbet, was as radical at the time as the Impressionist’s approach to brushwork and color.
In this painting in particular, I love the colors in the shadows (don’t let anyone tell you the French Impressionists didn’t use grays), and the wonderful textural quality of the paint evident in the large reproductions.
I don’t know about you, but I’m really tired of CGI special effects in television commercials. Some years ago, I was an enthusiastic fan of CGI; now I’m weary of the way computer generated effects saturate almost everything. often as a substitute for story or characterizartion.
What a refreshing change it is to see something like this, a traditionally animated commercial (for a Japanese brand of sweet potato based liquor) created by Studio Ghibli animator Yoshiharu Sato, in which he brings to bear the remarkable visual splendor for which Studion Ghibli animations are justly renowned.
For those not familiar with the amazing animated features of Studio Ghibli, see my post on its creator Hayao Miyazaki.
In this 90 second advertisement, Sato not only dazzles with beautifully atmospheric backgrounds and sensitively drawn characters, but tells a touching story of a man’s relationship with his father.
The storytelling involves flashbacks, and for those of us who don’t understand Japanese, it may be best appreciated by reading the capsule description on io9. You can also go to the animation directly on YouTube.
Be sure to view this in full screen mode.
[Note: the images above are just screen captures, not embedded videos. Please use the links below.]
Hayao Miyazaki, director of some of the most fantastic and beautifully executed animated feature films in history, is not known for creating short films.
According to io9, this animated short, which has recently become available on Vimeo, was an exercise to break a creative block Miyazaki experienced while working on Princess Mononoke.
The film was essentially done in the form of a music video for “On Your Mark” by Chage and Aska, but is its own self-contained story, and packs a lot of visual imagination into its seven minutes. Miyazaki ventures into the ‘futuristic anime” genre that he usually doesn’t work with, and puts many dedicated directors of the genre to shame.
You may want to watch it twice to get the gist of the story, and then several more times, just to be dazzled.
The short is available on Vimeo (at least for the moment) under the title “On Your Mark & Castles in the Air (CHAGE & ASKA PV)“.
For more info on the director, see my post on Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli).