A Different View

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Un_bar_aux_Folies-Berg%C3%A8re_d%27E._Manet_(Fondation_Vuitton,_Paris)_(33539037428).jpg

Manet’s painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergère is sometimes criticized for its confused composition. The bottles to the barmaid’s right stand near the back of the bar, but in the reflection behind her they stand near the front. Her own image ought to stand behind her, not off to the right. And reflection of the man she’s addressing (in the position of the painter, or the viewer) ought also to be behind her — indeed, she herself should be blocking our view of it.

But in a dissertation at the University of New South Wales, art historian Malcolm Park found that the arrangement makes sense if certain assumptions are reconsidered. The barmaid is facing the viewer across the bar, with a mirror behind her. But she’s looking diagonally along the bar, not directly across it. (See the diagram here.)

The bottles in the background and the man she appears to be addressing are both in fact to the viewer’s left, beyond the edge of the frame and so visible only as reflections. And the barmaid’s own reflection appears to our right because, from our perspective, the mirror is not directly behind her — it’s “turned” somewhat, carrying her image over to one side.

(Malcolm Park, Ambiguity and the Engagement of Spatial Illusion Within the Surface of Manet’s Paintings, dissertation, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, 2001.)

In a Word

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fishpond_Mosaic.jpg
Image: Wikimedia Commons

hortulan
adj. of or belonging to a garden

micacious
adj. sparkling, shining

bumfuzzle
v. to astound or bewilder

asomatous
adj. having no material body

Artist Gary Drostle designed this trompe l’oeil mosaic for a public garden in Croydon in 1996.

He calls it “the ideal low maintenance fishpond.”

A New Outlook

Sculptor Anna Coleman Ladd found an unusual application for her artistry during World War I, creating prostheses for the dramatic injuries produced by machine guns and heavy artillery. After reading about artist Francis Derwent Wood’s “Tin Noses Shop” in London, she moved to London and opened a “Studio for Portrait-Masks.”

Her copper and silver masks, 1/32″ thick and weighing 4-9 ounces, were founded on facial casts and painted to match the precise skin tone of each patient. Held in place by eyeglasses, many included realistic mustaches, eyebrows, and eyelashes. By the end of 1919 Ladd had created 185 of them, charging $18 for each and donating her own services. The Red Cross called them “miracles,” and in 1932 France made her a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anna_Coleman_Ladd_and_soldier.jpg

Irregular

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/henk-verhoeff-makes-wonderfully-weird-002047379.html

New Zealand woodworker Henk Verhoeff makes whimsically broken furniture.

“It’s hard to say how long each piece takes me,” he says. “It’s unset times during the week, and it could easily be 80 to 100 hours.”

“I started creating them for the pure love of it, without the intention of selling them. But when I run out of space, there will be an eBay auction or two. Everything is for sale … except for my wife.”

His daughter posts photos on Facebook.

Wave

The world’s largest anamorphic illusion is this startling display in Seoul’s Gangnam District. Measuring 80 meters by 20, it runs for 18 hours a day, the creation of design firm d’strict.

Below is another project by the same creators: the “infinity wall” in the lobby of Nexen Tire’s Central Research Institute, also in Seoul.