Ornamental Decoration in 17th Century France

Jean Le Pautre titlepage


ornamental grotesque faces


decorative embellishment


fountain arabesque


armorial ornament


Le Pautre ornament with putti


17th cent. french ornamental motifs


extravagant 17th cent. french ornamentation


grotesque border motif


17th cent. decorative embellishment


border motifs - 17th cent. designs


border grotesques and arabesques


Le Pautre - 17th cent. ornamental design


ornamental design vignettes


17th cent. french ornamental design - Le Pautre


arabesque and grotesque fountain designs


decorative embellishment - architectural design


3 grotesque face designs


17th cent. french fountain decorative design


17 cent. decorative stand and vase design


17th century plinth design


french design motifs


Jean Le Pautre (Lepautre or Lepaultre) (1618-1682) has been described as the most important ornament engraver of the 17th century. His prodigious output extended to more than 2000 prints, mostly from his own original designs.

He was not only the originator of the grandiose Louis XIV style but was also responsible for disseminating and popularising its full lavish repertoire throughout Europe. Le Pautre’s often over-elaborate and flamboyant designs frequently included arabesques, grotesques and cartouches, together with elements from classical mythology.

His diverse range of subject matter, influenced by his carpentry/joinery architectural background, included: friezes, wallpaper, grottoes, alcoves, fireplaces, furniture, murals, ceiling mouldings, fountains and grottoes.


A 3-volume series of his works was released in 1751 by Charles-Antoine Jombert of Paris, under the title: ‘Oeuvres D’Architecture De Jean Le Pautre’ and was recently uploaded by the University of Heidelberg. (Hint: to get to the thumbnails, click on ‘Titelblatt’, then the ’-’ symbol and arrow across to reach the 147 illustrations) The sample of images above are from Volume One which concentrates on the grotesque/arabesque prints.


architectural border design - 17th century france
Ornamental Decoration in 17th Century France

Pocket Penguins 70s

Whenever I think about not buying the Pocket Penguins 70th Anniversary box set I punch myself in the face. I love how the images on these three are so dominant, and yet there’s great treatment of type as well.




Pocket Penguins 70s

Down with applause

MY FOREIGN colleagues are often amused by the way Americans leap to their feet at the end of most evenings at the theatre. The moment a curtain drops, everyone tends to stand–particularly if the cast includes a real-life celebrity. A visiting friend from Russia, who went to see “The Coast of Utopia” at Lincoln Centre, was very impressed by the standing ovation, assuming it was something rare and honourable. I hadn’t the heart to explain that he was in the company of ovation-sluts.

So in the weeks following the frenzy before the Tony awards, when Broadway producers can finally exhale, I was amused by Sunday’s New York Times piece about the tedious American habit of entrance applause. Actors find it disruptive (albeit encouraging, if it’s for them); directors find it a nuisance (“The whole rhythm of the play has to stop”, says one producer). Why do we do it?

Vladimir Konecni, a professor of psychology at University of California, San Diego, who has studied the psychology of theater, noted that while the “joiners” of the entrance applause are most likely engaging in a simple case of imitation, the applause starter is harder to explain. “Elitism is absolutely the issue,” Professor Konecni said. “I have good taste, I have money, I have sensitivity, I am rewarding myself mentally.” One feels a giddy sense of accomplishment, he said, for having made it into the same room as Kevin Spacey.

Another factor is the concept of “impression management,” in this case impressing your date. “You’re telling her, ‘I belong here, I know the rules,’ ” Professor Konecni said.

That sounds about right. There is a certain smug pride in being the first to start or stop clapping, as though the whole experience is old hat. “Look at me,” we seem to say. “I do this all the time. Take notes.”

I was particularly pleased to learn this bit of trivia about Japanese theatre:

In Japan traditional kabuki theater is known for kakegoe: shouting at actors upon their entrance, and throughout the performance. When an actor strikes a traditional pose along the entrance, audiences will shout out his yago — literally “shop name” or theatrical studio — or lines of encouragement like “You’re better than your father!,” referring to the tradition of passing roles down through the generations.

Kakegoe makes up for the nonexistence of curtain calls. “There’s a saying in kabuki theater that if you wait until the end of the performance, it’s too late,” said David Furumoto, who teaches theater at the University of Wisconsin.

Waiting until the end of a show is too late? Does this speak to a larger need for encouragement? Or an unspeakable fear of mortality? Regardless, it makes New Yorkers sound down-right restrained.


Down with applause

But, you could eat a bagel or donut?

IMG_4293.JPG

The other evening while out with neighbors for dinner I mentioned that I had pork chops for breakfast the day before. Her response: I couldn’t eat a pork chop for breakfast. So, have a look at my breakfast. Would you rather eat breakfast cereal, a donut or a bagel like she does?

She does struggle with her weight and her rejection out of hand of nutritious food in favor of the convenience and her long experience with lousy carbohydrate-laden food is one reason for her struggles. You don’t give up anything when you eat the EF Way. You gain new foods and variety along with nutrition. And the weight just falls off.


But, you could eat a bagel or donut?

A "Healthy" Doctor Runner with Heart Disease

Following on the Salazar post on marathoners is another less dramatic story, but with the same plot: Excessive Running. The doctor who looked the picture of health and was a runner was expected to ace his treadmill stress test. Yet, he flunked and was found to have calcified arteries Hidden Heart Disease.

Note that by using vitamins C and E, natural antioxidants, the doctors treating the patient were able to partially reverse the disease. Don’t run excessively (or only when you sprint briefly in my opinion) and do take antioxidants, especially if you do run excessively.


A “Healthy” Doctor Runner with Heart Disease

Bryan Caplan in *The New Yorker*

Louis Menand, who has written a book on pragmatism, writes in response to Caplan:

In the end, the group that loses these contests must abide by the outcome, must regard the wishes of the majority as legitimate.  The only way it can be expected to do so is if it has been made to feel that it had a voice in the process, even if that voice is, in practical terms, symbolic.  A great virtue of democratic polities is stability.  The toleration of silly opinions is (to speak like an economist) a small price to pay for it.

There is much more at the link.

Addendum: Here is a good sentence from Menand: “People are less modern than the times in which they live, in other words, and the failure to comprehend this is what can make economists seem like happy bulldozers.”


Bryan Caplan in The New Yorker

Quote of the week, Bonus Edition: Socrates on the "book"

From Thomas West’s Thinking Like Einstein:



Long ago, Socrates described some second thoughts he had about the new and questionable technology called a “book”. He thought it had several weaknesses. A book could not adjust what it was saying, as a living person would, to what would be appropriate for certain listeners or specific times or places. In addition, a book could not be interactive, as in a conversation or dialogue between persons. And finally, according to Socrates, in a book the written words “seem to talk to you as if they were intelligent, but if you ask them anything about what they say, from a desire to be instructed, they go on telling you just the same thing forever.”


[Socrates then went on to say, “It’s been five weeks since the book was introduced, and I don’t see that many people using it – books are so over.”]


Quote of the week, Bonus Edition: Socrates on the “book”

ARTISTS IN LOVE, part ten

In both his art and his life, the sculptor Gaston Lachaise was famously devoted to his muse, Isabel.



Lachaise was working in Paris in 1901 when he first saw Isabel Nagle, a married woman on vacation from the United States. He later recalled that the moment he laid eyes on her, Isabel “immediately became the primary inspiration which awakened my vision….“



The sincere young artist appeared at her door every day until she agreed to let him draw her portrait. By the time she returned home to the U.S., Isabel loved Gaston too.


Lachaise could not bear to lose Isabel so he gave up his friends and family, learned to speak English and followed her to the U.S. with $30 in his pocket. There, he ultimately persuaded her to divorce her husband and marry him.



Gaston and Isabel seem to have had a grand time together. Isabel’s first husband was a conservative businessman in strict Boston society. Gaston took her away from Boston to romp nude in the remote woods of Maine. They swam and frolicked in the phosphorescent sea at night. They wrote bad love poetry to each other (as is every couple’s right). A sample from Gaston:


I sing my hymn to you,
You the goddess for whom I searched,
Whom I express in my every work,
Have made me a God,
You inspire my every moment.
Mostly, Isabel inspired Lachaise to sculpt an endless stream of monuments to muliebrity. His statues gloried in her ample belly, powerful haunches and pendulous breasts.







Years later he wrote, “through her the splendor of life was uncovered for me and the road of wonder began widening….” It must have been somewhere along that wider road that he started sculpting Isabel opened like some giant fecund orchid.



I used to think Lachaise’s art was pretty uncomplicated. Then I read that Isabel was in reality just five feet, two inches tall and weighed a mere 110 pounds. Whoa.

Oliver Sacks once wrote, "the world isn’t given to us– we make it with our nervous systems.” In art as in love, what we bring to and invest in the object of our affection plays a significant role in the reality we perceive.

Lachaise did not simply copy Isabel as nature created her. She was his focal object for distilling the abstract shapes and contours of eros. Isabel seems to have transported Lachaise to something much bigger than himself. Willa Cather defined happiness as “being dissolved into something complete and great.” As far as I can tell, Lachaise was a very happy guy.

ARTISTS IN LOVE, part ten

Travel: Choose a smaller airport to make your flight more pleasant

airport.pngFinancial blog Wise Bread has come up with a practical way to make your flight experience a little less crazymaking - just fly out of a smaller airport:

This isn’t an option for everyone, but when it is, take it. It’s worth the extra $20, $20, or $50 to fly from an airport with shorter security lines and more accessible airline agents. Think of it as paying youself for the time you save because you don’t have to arrive as early or stand in line as long. Plus, flights from smaller airports are more likely to be on time than flights from major airports.

Actually, the one time I did this I had the most awesome flight of my life, I kid you not. What are some other ways you’ve found to ease the irritants of air travel these days? Thoughts in the comments.

Headaches, Begone!: 5 Tips for Making Airline Travel Easier [Wise Bread]


Travel: Choose a smaller airport to make your flight more pleasant

A Map for Saturday

Don’t watch this documentary unless you are ready to quit your job. It’s about the joys and woes of long-term traveling. It’s impossible to watch this fun film and not confront the fact that you are here instead of there, out on the road, soaking up the mysteries of the world, with all-you-can-eat $3 dinners and $5 rooms, backpacking around the world for a year, as the filmmaker himself did. This kind of vagabonding is more a state of mind than a state of motion. Something weird happens when you travel longer than 10 days, and that wonderful transformation (which no one can explain to their family when they return) is what this superbly written, fabulously edited, deeply personal and wonderfully likeable documentary is all about.

This film explores the mellow subculture of (mostly) young people who trek along an invisible international traveler’s circuit. There’s a kind of endless distributed global party going on every day of the year (plainly visible here), and to join it all you need is a ticket to any country and the address of the local hostel. I was part of this mind-set for many years and boy, does this film nail the peculiar delights of perpetual cheap travel. Not just the highs (everyday is Saturday, each new person an instant best friend), but also the lows (always saying goodbye, and loss of connection).

This DVD won’t give you the how-to specifics of vagabonding. For that I recommend First-Time Around the World. A Map for Saturday works best as an orientation course, offering inspiration on why to tackle this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. It’s the next best thing to having a good friend come back and tell you what really happens when you find yourself at the other end of the road.

– KK

map_saturday-sm.jpg

A Map for Saturday
Brook Silva-Braga
2006, 90 min.
$15 ($20 with shipping), DVD
Available from the filmmakers’ website

Trailer

Sample excerpts:

MapSaturday2sm.jpg
Filmmaker Brook keeps track of his expenses for one day in Laos. He starts out with his $5 room shared with fellow traveler Kym.

MapSaturday3sm.jpg
You have to get used to the squatty potties in Asia. The bucket of water on the side is used to flush the toilet.

MapSaturday1sm.jpg
A game of beach volley ball on the sands in Thailand. Hanging around for weeks sipping cold beers at sunset is part of the plan.


A Map for Saturday

Quicker references with Google Scholar

This post is an ode to Google Scholar (GS). GS has a major advantage against expensive institution only academic search engines in that is free, which makes services indispensable to independent scholars wishing to get some access to research literature when they don’t have an institutional subscription. However, even though I personally have institutional access to indexing services like Web of Science and Scopus, I still prefer GS for the majority of my searches, and in this post I will explain why.

GS is not alone if offering free academic article indexing for a wide range of sources. This post lists a bunch of free and paid services. Microsoft live academic has a very similar system, using a slick interface, which has the advantage of providing paper abstracts where available upfront, and before both these appeared, Citesteer provided something similar. I prefer GS over these and other systems I have tried. In my limited testing, I found the MS live search and Citesteer to give a much smaller set of results to GS. For ease and speed of use I prefer the simplicity of the Google design over the paid alternatives.

GS is largely disliked by librarians, as Google is very cagey about what there index consists and their citation index is probably not to be trusted for serious reporting. GS gives citation counts, which might not always be exactly accurate, for most purposes an exact total isn’t necessary, as it serves as good measure of the importance and influence of a book or paper, and allows easy access to those references that cite it. By default, when you click to see articles that cite a particular article, the index is presented with the most highly cited articles first, which makes it very easy to see the important and influential articles in a field.

As Jose suggested in a previous post, one way to assess the productivitveness of reference managers is by how many clicks it takes to get what you want. GS is about as productive in this regard as I could imagine any reference indexer to be. Because it is free, there is no login and you don’t have to be on a university network to access search results or enter in passwords, or have your session time out like some other services. This means GS is always available. If you set up the preferences on GS you can setup a link to your reference manager of choice for an instant export. As I now use Zotero, this means it’s a one click operation to get a reference into my database, with no dialog prompts.

GS has the advantage that it often indexes PDF’s for the article, which may not be available by other means. If there is a link for your search result of “View as HTML” you know the link GS provides is for the PDF, otherwise it normally links to the abstract via various publishers websites or other indexing services. If there is a link at the side “all X versions”, this means there are various other places in which that article is indexed. If that X is a high number, it is likely that one of the other links will be the PDF, which is useful to check if the frontpage GS link doesn’t link to a PDF, or if the PDF that GS links to is missing. If the reference is a book, it will often link to the Google Book site entry for that book, which is handy.

For easier access to full text articles which GS doesn’t index, I use the OpenURL referrer firefox extension, which can work out your OpenURL referrer for your institution, and adds a link to GS search results. Google offers this service itself for many American libraries - just check the GS preferences page. If you click the link this service adds, it will use the OpenURL system to work out if your library has access to the full text version of the article on the publishers website or other indexing service, and take you to it. It also should show if you have the reference in your library.

One advantage and disadvantage of GS is that it includes many articles that wouldn’t get included in other indexing services. One nice advantage is that it gives you access to books and articles in a single search. The articles GS indexes includes manuscripts in preparation and working papers. This means you can access articles not accessible by other means. However, this means you don’t get the benefits of peer review, but I think the benefits of getting recent papers outweighs this disadvantage. Another problem is that GS will sometimes export reference data which isn’t properly formatted, or missing fields. This will unsurprisingly occur for unpublished papers, but for regular papers it doesn’t happen regularly enough to be a major problem for me. GS gives the index source underneath the link to the reference, so you can figure out whether the exported reference will have the full information, and you can check other sources if GS shows them to be available.

While GS is useful for the reasons outlined above, the best feature of GS is the search. GS uses the Google simplicity of search principle. There is a just one search box, with no fields. There is a link to an advanced search field which allows you to limit searches by year, by publication, and author. This may seem very limited compared to other services. For further information on these options see the GS help page. However, with GS I don’t use advanced searches, apart from the occasion “author:”, as the power of GS is that you don’t need to. I typically put a few uncommon words from the title and the most uncommon author name, and the vast majority of the time I get what I am looking for. One feature of Google search syntax that you might not know is that if you string words together by dashes it is equivalent to a search string. e.g. “war is peace” is the same as war-is-peace. Doing this for a few words from the title of the reference you are looking for ensures a high success rate.

The ease and speed of searching is enhanced for me with other tools that make instant search easier. I use a keyboard launcher, Slickrun, which means I can execute searches from a command line accessible via a hotkey. Other keyboard launchers can provide a similar service, or you can use the keyword feature of Firefox. The means that whenever I see a reference, such as in a PDF article, I copy the reference, type my GS keyword, paste the search term, and a second later my GS search term is loading. An alternative method is to use the firefox extension Conquery . This means I can select text in the browser (e.g. name of an article) and send the text as a search term to google scholar. I also have an AutoHotKey command which will instantly launch selected text as a GS search.

The speed and ease of which I can access to references has changed the way I work. Its quicker for me to get a reference via a GS search then it is to find a stored copy in my own reference manager, and I can’t ask for much more that that from a reference indexing service.

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Quicker references with Google Scholar

Eating Strategies

Do you eat the best thing first or save the best for last?  Most people fall into one of these two categories and according to Brian Wansink’s Mindless Eating there is a simple economic explanation.  The people who eat the best thing first tend to have grown up as younger children from large families.  The people who save the best for last are more often first borns.  Need I say more?

Mindless Eating, by the way, masquerades as a diet book but it’s really about research design!  Highly recommended.


Eating Strategies

The most absurd sentence I read today

I am proposing that the Son and the Father Singularities guided the worlds of the multiverse to concentrate the energy of the particles constituting Jesus in our universe into the Jesus of our universe.

That is from Frank Tipler’s The Physics of Christianity.

But wait, there is competition for the honor:

If Jesus indeed rose from the dead using the mechanism described in Chapter 8, namely electroweak tunneling to convert matter into energy, and if indeed this was done with the intention of showing us how to use the same process, then we ourselves should be able to learn how to turn matter into either electromagnetic energy or neutrinos within a few decades.

You choose…


The most absurd sentence I read today