ANTIQUITY IN SPAIN & PORTUGAL

ANTIQUITY IN SPAIN & PORTUGAL

Alfama, Portugal is Lisbon's oldest district made famous for it's tight winding corridors and for having been one of the few neighborhoods to survive the devastating earthquake of 1755. Photo by Laura Pastores from Westminster College. - See more at: http://www.semesteratsea.org/2013/10/14/student-photo-gallery-portugal-and-spain/#sthash.Fr8RfmW1.dpuf

Alfama, Portugal  Lisbon’s oldest district made famous for it’s tight winding corridors and for having been one of the few neighborhoods to survive the devastating earthquake of 1755. Photo by Laura Pastores from Westminster College.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spain and Portugal . . . according to history, the two countries intermarried, so when Isabella pawned her jewels to raise funds for discoveries of new lands, it brought them great wealth. Portuguese Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope to India and brought untold wealth to his nation.

Statue in Seville, Spain near the city's main cathedral. Photo by Aylin Ozyigit from Pennsylvania State University. - See more at: http://www.semesteratsea.org/2013/10/14/student-photo-gallery-portugal-and-spain/#sthash.zhehSAUK.dpuf

Statue in Seville, Spain near the city’s main cathedral. Photo by Aylin Ozyigit from Pennsylvania State University. – See more at: http://www.semesteratsea.org/2013/10/14/student-photo-gallery-portugal-and-spain/#sthash.zhehSAUK.dpuf

In the latter years of the 15th century, the Portuguese, by an astounding expansion of their shipping, obtained their Indian, African, Chinese, and Brazilian colonies, and discovered the Azores. Portugal became one of the great empires of the world. Within the next century the Spanish conquistadors, Cortez and Pizarro, conquered Mexico and Peru, and for a century, Spanish galleons returned to Cadiz loaded with quantities of silver and gold. The ships that sailed under the Portuguese banner returned to Lisbon with the spices, silks, porcelains, and other products of both the East and the West of Europe. You see, Portugal was at intervals under the Crown of Spain but this arrangement was never acceptable to her people. She finally regained her independence and her former empire in 1665, but her people are of the same racial and cultural origins as those of Spain; her language is easily understood by the Spaniard and differs less than Catalan and Basque from the best Castilian.

Iberian Chair

Iberian Chair heavily carved in the stretchers and back splats.

 

I found the furnishings and the decorative arts of Spain and Portugal to be closely parallel. Although it does seem that the Spanish have somewhat more delicacy in their furnishings. Spain and Portugal were separated from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees, so influence was predominantly North African, or Moorish. Both countries also had strong economic and political ties with the East, Oriental and Indian influences can be seen in Iberian furniture.

 

 

 

 

Spanish Vargueno

Spanish Vargueno closed

A fall-front desk of the 16th, 17th, and early 18th centuries, having the form of a chest upon a small table.

The Spanish nobility led a relatively nomadic existence, so furniture had to be portable. Most furniture

Vargueno open

Vargueno open

was made of local walnut. Cabinets, or varguenos, had handles on the sides so that they could be lifted on or off stands. During the 16th century varguenos had been luxury items, but they became more common during the 17th century.

My interior design career took me all over the world. This gave me the opportunity to see and touch furnishings and the decorative arts of the early centuries. The Metropolitan Museum is a close second to my travels, where I brought friends and clients to experience antiquity, where you can see, but don’t touch. The Hispanic Museum in New York is another  learning place for antiquity. It’s where I first found a cabinet with secret compartments that I thought I originated. But, no, this clever cabinet idea was designed in the 12th century.   Building storage into a wall, or between two lally columns, and hiding the doors in some tricky, clever way. You’ve seen concealed places in the movies, even a secret room behind the library shelves. Doesn’t Harry Potter stories have secret places like these?

My artist friends who are going to Toledo, Spain with the great artist and workshop instructor, David Dunlop, will be hosted by the local El Greco museum. They are in for a treat, surrounded by antiquity. Opened in 1911, the museum is located in Toledo’s Jewish Quarter. It consists of two buildings: a 16th-century house with a courtyard, and an extension dating from the early 20th century. The two share a garden. The museum houses numerous works by El Greco, especially from this brilliant painter’s last period, as well as canvases by other 17th century Spanish painters, furniture from the same era and pottery from Talavera de la Reina.

Any questions? Ask away . . .

COLOR FOR INTERIOR DESIGN

COLOR FOR INTERIOR DESIGN

fireworks

Downtown Miami July 4, 2007 — The colors here are analogous, red/white/blue

In the last couple of weeks, my blogs addressed dark tones and color distribution. Color distribution is the industry phrase for the Law of Chromatic Distribution.

In this blog, please note that the discussion is about color basics and its application. The basics are applicable to all the arts, as well as to interior design.

A room is divided up by four areas:

  1. Dominant Areas—Walls, floor and ceiling
  2. Medium Areas—Draperies and large upholstered furniture, bedcoverings, etc.
  3. Small Areas—Small upholstered furniture, chair-seats, pillows, table covers, etc.
  4. Accents—Piping, welting or fringes on draperies and upholstery, lampstands or shades, pattern motifs in wallpapers and textiles.
Monochromatic color distribution

Sample of a Monochromatic color distribution

A color scheme is principally formed by the color used in the dominant and medium areas. The colors in the small areas and accents add punch, but are of less importance in the general effect of the composition. They can accentuate the colors used in the larger areas and sometimes help to tie the colors together for unity and harmony.

The basic color schemes: Monochromatic, monotone, complementary, analogous.

Monochromatic bedroom design

Monochromatic bedroom design

 

 

 

 

 

A monochromatic color scheme uses a single color on most every room surface. In this type of scheme, various darker shades, grayer tones, and paler tints of the main color may be included in the palette. In addition, the one color is often paired with white or another neutral. For example, a monochromatic room in gray might use single shade of gray paired with white. Yet it might also include dark blue upholstery fabric, pale gray walls, medium gray draperies in contrast with the walls, sometimes edging the draperies with a contrasting fringe or piping and welt the seams of the upholstered pieces in the same manner, also use a patterned area rug that includes both gray and white. The window and door trim as well as the ceiling might be painted in white.

Monotone livingroom

Monotone living room

A monotone color scheme uses a single neutral color, such as gray or taupe, in the same tones, values and intensity. Although it is well unified, to avoid monotony, add accents or create textural variety in fabrics, such as velvet, satin, tweeds, linen, tapestries, etc., or in types of furnishings, such as plexiglass, glass, chrome, bronze, or a variety of exotic woods. This type of color scheme can be elegant by its simplicity. It is useful as a backdrop for art of exceptional merit.

The Night Café, (1888), by Vincent van Gogh, used red and green to express what Van Gogh called "the terrible human passions."

The Night Café, (1888), by Vincent van Gogh, used red and green (complementary) to express what Van Gogh called “the terrible human passions.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A complementary color scheme uses colors opposite each other on the color wheel, or the complement, such as green and red, blue and orange and purple and yellow. The distribution of these colors would vary in tone and value, as in pale green and soft pink, etc. In this scheme, a more agreeable harmony will be attained if each color is slightly tinged with similar colors to make them more appealing. So in that green and red scheme, it’s more visually appealing if the red is slightly tinged with yellow, (red-russet) and the green is also slightly tinged with yellow (citron). Or if the red is on the blue side (re-mulberry) the green should also be on the blue side (green-slate). For color

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet (1872) featured a tiny but vivid orange sun against a blue background. The painting gave its name to the Impressionist movement.

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet (1872) featured a tiny but vivid orange sun against a blue background (complementary). The painting gave its name to the Impressionist movement.

harmony, the same principle should be applied to the other complementary schemes and the proper color may be easily selected by inspecting the color wheel. Here’s a great website for you to explore about complementary colors: http://color-wheel-artist.com/complementary-colors.html.

Color wheel 1908

Color wheel 1908

color wheel wikiBezold_Farbentafel_1874

Color wheel

And for my artist colleagues, please note in the color circles what happens when you mix two complementary colors together on your palette. The three primaries when mixed with their secondary colors (complementary colors) all do the same thing, they neutralize each other. Yet, placed side-by-side they intensify each other. The color schemes can also be used in your paintings.

Analogous interior-resource, Pinterest

Analogous interior-resource, Pinterest

An analogous color scheme are any three adjoining hues in a 12 color wheel, or any three of six adjoining colors in a wheel of 24, as in the Miami fireworks image above. The colors can be used in any tonal or chromatic (intensity) values, as long as the law of chromatic distribution is maintained, (medium intensity on the dominant areas, etc.). In this type of scheme the colors close to each other always harmonize well. Using three colors of mutual tonal relationship is the safest selection. To avoid monotony, tonal variety is helpful, and it’s usually better to use one of the tones to dominate the others, by limiting the color of the walls to one color and repeat in small accents in other areas.

Pinterest illustration

Pinterest illustration of analogous color scheme. Any three colors from a 12 or 24 color wheel.

A basic color scheme will use two colors that look appealing together. More advanced color schemes involve several related colors in “Analogous” combination, for example, text with such colors as red, yellow, and orange arranged together on a black background in a magazine article. The addition of light blue creates an “Accented Analogous” color scheme.

There is much to explore in the color world, but hopefully, this blog gives you some understanding about how to color your life! Feel free to ask questions . . .

Fireworks: By Averette at English Wikipedia – Digital photo taken by Marc Averette.Transferred from en.Wikipedia; en:File:Miamifireworks.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10573309

TRABEATED, STONES AND THRONES

TRABEATED, STONES AND THRONES

Temple Precincts on the banks of the Nile

You are looking at Upper Egypt on the banks of the Nile River, with its ruins of the Temple Amon, built by King Tut after he took the throne, ca.1332BC-1323BC in the conventional chronology. The ruins, excavated in the 20th century, are huge, though nothing remains of the houses, palaces, and gardens surrounding the Temple. Since people always want more space, It was added onto over the centuries, expanding the temple area.

The exteriors of these areas gave important information to future generations about structure and design. What works and what doesn’t.

Stonehenge inside facing

At first, buildings were supported by vertical and horizontal elements. What you might know as post and beam, could be wood, could be stone, as in Stone Henge shown here. Technically this type of construction is known as Trabeated construction.

Trabeated construction: column and beam

In the image with the columns,  aesthetic elements in carvings of various designs have been cut/incised into the columns. We were and are still seeking the aesthetics.

Tutankhamun, King for only ten years, died at nineteen after a short reign.

King Tut's throne. Carving on back he & his sister-wife

He reigned long enough to change the direction of idol worship in his country. In my blog last week (http://gailingis.com/wordpress/?p=1862),  Samson died a pauper’s death, unlike Tutankhamun whose regal properties were buried with him.This young man, affectionately called King Tut, made an aesthetic difference in his kingdom. He not only had temple architecture designed and built, but he influenced the design of furnishings, to this

day. We still create chairs that mimic Tut’s throne. All were discovered in 1922 in his well-stocked tomb.

This iron and brass chair, with a leather seat and back, is a 19th century design taken from King Tut’s throne. This is still being made today, and with many variations. It was popular in the French Directoire period under Napoleon.

Do you have a throne? Would you like to have a throne, or would a simple chair suffice? Have you ever wanted to visit the pyramids?

LOUIS XVI & HIS LASS

LOUIS XVI & HIS LASS

Hiding in her room, she shivered knowing she was soon to be convicted of thievery. A crime by the government of France against the people of France.

Marie Antoinette 1783 Portrait

Is the crime one of this regime, Louis XVI and his Lass, or is it a crime of near bankruptcy through the opulence of their predecessors, Louis XIV and Louis XV? The crime of taking the taxes of the people to buy the latest fashions and furnishings for the kings and queens of France. Louis and Marie were young and foolish, he fifteen, she fourteen when they married.

Louis XVI Portrait

After donning the crown in 1774, they built monuments to themselves, imported porcelain, had fabrics woven to their specifications, cabinetry designed and created by the high paid Ebénisters (high-grade cabinet makers). The economy spiraled downward (unemployment in Paris in 1788 is estimated at 50%), crops failed, the price of bread and other food soared. The people were not happy. To top it off, Louis had the misfortune to marry a foreigner, the Austrian Marie Antoinette. The anger of the French people, fueled by xenophobia, targeted Marie as a prime source of their problems. Le Petit Trianon at Versailles was fashioned and furnished for Marie, Louis’ Lass, in the Neoclassical style.

Neoclassical - end of Rococo's curves of the past

A style eliminating the curves of the past. You can identify a Louis XVI chair easily by the typical chair leg. It is straight with fluting and rosette in a square on the top corner of the leg. Although these chairs pictured here, are dark, furniture of the period is often painted white, and upholstered in needlepoint, silk, damask, and velvet upholstery.

Occasionally chair backs have wood carvings of various motifs   like garlands and ribbons.

This furniture took the skill of many talented Ebénisters. Costs were high. The money used did not belong to royalty. Louis and his lass lost their heads for robbing the people.

If you want to buy a chair in this style, would you know what to look for? Can you identify the rosette in the square on the top of the leg?

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