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April 28, 2006 | THIS ALTOGETHER THUNDER

The awesomeness of art in the age of mechanical reproduction

Been tryin’ to dust off this website lately and maybe even make it functional , and what could inspire me more than these action-figure-like figurines based on famous artists ? I got this link (via a Flores email) and immediately started drooling.

Bosch harpist
Monster Playing the Harp based on Hieronymus Bosch. It reminds me of a Skeksis.

A lot of the time I don’t like things like adaptations of famous artwork, and doing pseudo-action figures seems like a terrible idea. All we need is more overexposure of the same old art, more Van Gogh on our collective refrigerator. But these little figurines are quite a step up from your average guest-bathroom-Monet.

They make me want to learn more about Hieronymus Bosch, for one thing. I took an art history class once in college and pretty much snoozed through all the medieval stuff, but I missed out on the coolest part of medieval art: the intricacy. All the little details are amazing. And having spent enough of my life traipsing around Europe, I’m fascinated by the role of art in the life of your average 15th-century, illiterate peasant, whose worldview was shaped entirely by farming and the frightening iconography of medieval Christianity. Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights would’ve scared the shit out of you.

Ear and knife   Treeman
Ears with knife/Treeman also from the G.O.E.D. Such wild symbolism…

This same website has other great artists too, some of whom I am a fan of (check out the beautiful interpretation of Schiele ), some of whom I know nothing about, and some of whom don’t really translate into great figurines. It appears that these were all produced by a Dutch company called Parastone , but I can’t find out too much more about them. Some of the Bosch ones are available for sale at the British National Gallery and while they’re pricey, I am feeling a little tempted.

Dali   Treeman
The one on the left is based on Dal�’s Geopolitical child watches the birth of the new human and on the right we have Bruegel’s The fall of the rebellious angels

Lately I’ve been more interested in sculpture just in general. We have so much of it here in DC and we’re lucky enough to have these two amazing sculpture gardens to spend a sunny spring morning. My sister is a big fan of sculpture and it is rubbing off a little bit. Just like medieval art, what used to seem boring is now fascinating.

And for all my doubts about reproducing art, deep down I am a huge fan of the postmodern mash-up, and I love that nowadays you could blend McFarlane Toys and these sculptures together to form one ferocious display of creepiness. Even when you put all the highcult and midcult and masscult into a blender, the cr�me de la cr�me still rises to the top, and my how tastey it is.

woman by Beardsley
Based on Beardsley’s The Black Cape . Art Nouveau in da hizzouse…